Brain gene variants affect how and what you eat, according to new research

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In Illinois, Silvia Berciano, a Universidad Autonoma de Madrid predoctoral fellow, presented a study describing the impact of gene variants in eating behaviors and food preferences. The researchers found that the genes they studied played a significant role in a person’s food choices and dietary habits.

Previous research has identified genes involved with behaviors seen in eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, but little is known about how natural variation in these genes affect eating behaviors in healthy people.

“Most people have a hard time modifying their dietary habits, even if they know it is in their best interest,” said Berciano. “This is because our food preferences and ability to work toward goals or follow plans affect what we eat and our ability to stick with diet changes. Ours is the first study describing how brain genes affect food intake and dietary preferences in a group of healthy people.”