Dining

For Some, a Love of Fatty Food Is All About Genetics

A new study looks at the main cause of obesity in families
Fatty Foods May Have Genetic Connection
Photo: Neil Conway via Flickr

Food preferences are complex, a mixture of what you were raised with, cultural influences, science and a host of other factors. But for a small group—approximately one out of every 1,000 people—a love of fatty foods is ingrained in their genes, a new UK study finds.

The group have a defective version of a specific gene (MC4R) that regulates hunger and how we burn calories, the BBC reports. It’s “the most common genetic cause of severe obesity within families that has so far been identified.”

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In the study, a group of people, both with the defective gene and not, were offered tastes of three versions of chicken korma, each made with a different level of fat, but were designed to taste the same. When left to choose a dish for their meal, the group with the defective gene chose the dish with the highest fat level.

Professor Sadaf Farooqi, who is leading this research, explains, "Even if you tightly control the appearance and taste of food, our brains can detect the nutrient content.”

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