Humans show remarkable variability in their eating styles. Reasons for this variability are poorly understood, but carry important implications for the onset of obesity and its comorbidities. Although it is well established that genes influence obesity, genetic influences on human eating patterns have received less attention. Dramatic increases in the prevalence of obesity justify additional research into the genetics of eating style. This review highlights what is known about the genetics of food preferences and selection in humans. Data from family and twin studies suggest a moderate genetic contribution to eating style, with clear environmental effects emerging as well. Select studies show support for gene-environment interactions and common genetic bases for certain dietary patterns, obesity, and/or metabolic complications. Genetically informative designs that infuse innovative behavioral measures may help explain individual differences in eating styles and hopefully promote more effective obesity treatments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine