''Nature, not nurture'' governs taste : Research

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London, Oct 24 (UNI) A new research claims that food preferences of an individual are genetic, answering questions as to why some people are averse to a particular kind of food group.

Professor Tim Spector from the Kings College of London suggests it was important to realise that much of people's preference for foods is set before birth.

''This research has revealed some fascinating findings.

For so long, we have assumed that our up-bringing and social environment determine what we like to eat. This has blown that theory out of the water, more often than not, our genetic make-up influences our dietary patterns.'' Daily Mail reported Professor Spector as saying.

To prove the role of genes in food habits, the researchers studied the eating habits of more than 3,000 sets of twins.

The analysis showed their diets could be broken down into five broad groups. These diets comprised mainly of fruits and vegetables, diets with a lot of alcohol, low-fat diets, low-meat diets, and a diet filled with meat, potatoes, fried fish and pies.

The researchers then compared the diets of identical twins - who have the same genetic make-up - with those of non-identical twins to allow them to work out whether differences in tastes were due to 'nature' or 'nurture'.

The results, published in the journal Twin Research and Human Genetics, suggested that between 41 per cent and 48 per cent of a person's leaning towards one of the food groups was genetic.

In contrast, ''foods we were forced to eat by our parents in childhood, or those that formed part of school dinners, accounted for around 5 per cent of our likes and dislikes''.

Research shows that a person's preference for foods has more to do with tastes inherited from parents than the contents of the school dinner menus of childhood.

Professor Tim also suggested that healthy eating campaigns may have to be restarted in the light of the findings, as genetic programming may mean some people find it more difficult to change their diet than others.

''We must realise it is a lot harder for some people to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and maybe they should be more targeted with vitamin replacements or other things that make it more tolerable,'' he said.

''It might also be helpful for parents who have found they have got fussy kids and find other parents blame them for not bringing their kids up properly - but it's not mum's fault.''Professor Tim added.


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