Colette's Blog

Craving Fatty Foods? It May Be Genetic

November 17, 2014

You may have seen news about this on our Forums and Facebook page, but a new study in the journal of Obesity shows that people who have certain forms of the CD36 gene may like high-fat foods more than those with other forms of this gene. If you have this gene, this explains why you may have struggled on low-fat diets in the past, and why you have success with Atkins’ higher fat, low-carbohydrate plan. “Fat is universally palatable to humans,” says Kathleen Keller, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, Penn State. “Yet we have demonstrated for the first time that people who have particular forms of CD36 gene tend to like higher fat foods more and may be at greater risk for obesity compared to those who do not have this form of the gene. In animals, CD36 is a necessary gene for the ability to both detect and develop preference for fat. Our study is the first to show this relationship in humans.”

As you may know, there are over 80 peer-reviewed studies showing the efficacy of Atkins, especially if you are carb intolerant and have Metabolic Syndrome, pre-diabetes or are insulin resistant. With this latest study, we now have a test that can help people identify their tendency to like higher fat foods and who may be at a greater risk of obesity. Just think… instead of struggling with diet after diet without success, if you were able to know that you have certain forms of this gene, you could help prevent your chances of obesity by following a higher fat plan like Atkins even before the pounds start piling on. The team of researchers for this study also has future plans to expand the population they examine to children. “By the time we are adults it is very hard for us to change eating behaviors,” says Keller. “So if we can determine which children have forms of the CD36 gene, as well as other genes that are associated with a greater liking of fats, we can help them develop healthier eating behaviors at a young age.”

Bottom line? If you have this gene, following a diet like Atkins could be a very effective preventive measure. With this being said, it’s also important to note that even if you don’t have this gene, research shows that Atkins is quite effective for so many other reasons.

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