Sunday, November 22, 2015

Some people 'hardwired' to prefer high-calorie foods, study finds

When trying to stay healthy, some have troubles saying no to a chocolate bar and getting a salad instead. More than a third of adults in the US, approximately 78.6 million people, are obese, which means that they are at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. New studies have shown that this may be caused because the brain is "hardwired" to crave foods high in fat and sugar. Study leader Dr. Tony Goldstone has identified that two genetic variants that influence whether we opt for high-calorie or low-calorie foods. A team of scientists conducted a study of DNA genotyping on 45 European adults to identify the presence of variants near the two genes, FTO gene and the DRD2 gene. The FTO gene is associated with obesity predisposition and the DRD2 gene plays a role in the regulation of dopamine in the brain. After the study was conducted, researchers found that participants who had a variant near the FTO gene and rated the high-calorie foods were more appealing and demonstrated greater activity in the part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that individuals who possess the FTO gene may be at greater risk for obesity early because dopamine signals trigger a sense of craving and reward in the presence of unhealthy foods. There was one possible treatment that was suggested to work would involve hormones that target dopamine cells in the brain to alter the hormone's influence on cravings for high-calorie foods. I believe that the people that possess the FTO gene may have a higher risk of obesity because of the dopamine signals that are triggering craving senses, but this may not be valid for everyone because everyone's body has different ways of working. A good way to avoid these cravings and not using a hormones as a treatment would be self control and not having high-calorie foods in your household or going into stores and restaurants that have these foods to avoid temptation.

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1 comment:

  1. I found this article to be particularly interesting because of the United States' high obesity rate. I have heard people say that being obese is in your genes but I never thought it could be true. Now that it has been proven people with the FTO gene may be at greater risk for obesity, I think it is cool that you can monitor at a younger age foods you eat if you have a greater chance of becoming obese.