Do Genes Play A Role In Your Preference For Particular Foods?

If you have been trying to alter your diet but you keep finding yourself falling back on the same foods, it may not be your fault. 

Results of a new study suggest that your genes may be the reason you can't stay away from potato chips or learn how to love spinach. Over 6,200 adults participated in the study to uncover whether there was a link between genes and preferences for certain food groups. The idea that genes in taste receptors and food preferences are linked has been investigated before. For this latest study, researchers applied data from some previous studies to map gene variants connected to our five essential tastes: bitter, salty, savory, sour, and sweet. They also developed a scoring system to ascertain the combined effect on a person's sensitivity to particular tastes, per HealthDay News.

While science experts agree that genes play a role in our tastes for certain foods, Connie Diekman, a St. Louis-based nutrition consultant and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, points out that diet is complex and involves many factors, per HealthDay News.

Other factors that can impact your diet

Besides genes potentially playing a role in food preferences, social contexts can also influence what you eat. According to an opinion article published in the journal Behavioral Sciences, social influences can be powerful. For instance, you are likely to eat differently with others compared to eating alone. When eating with others, you may have the desire to conform to the group's social eating norms, which may not always be healthy. Evidence even suggests that there may be a relationship between conforming to social eating norms and the development of obesity.

There are a number of other factors that can have an impact on food choices, according to previous research. An obvious one is your level of hunger and appetite, but psychology also plays a role. For instance, your mood or feeling of stress or guilt can have an impact on what you consume and how much. Additionally, socioeconomic factors will inevitably play a role in your diet based on what food is available and the affordability of food, per the European Food Information Council (EUFIC).

It's important not to be hard on yourself if you slip up when you're out with friends or you just can't get yourself to like kale. As long as you find ways to maintain a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, you will get the key vitamins and nutrients you need, Diekman told HealthDay News.