Gene implications in food and alcohol hankerings


[hr height=”30″ style=”default” line=”default” themecolor=”1″]

There is no dearth of recommendations and advice for the healthiest diet in today’s health conscious world.Since our genes respond to the food we eat,biologists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have strived to find answers to certain questions at the molecular levels.

Do the food we eat contribute to healthy cellular processes? Are we getting the benefit of what we eat?

Their recent genetic research actually speaks for what the ‘gene’ might consider a healthy food preference, limiting the risks of lifestyle related diseases. The ideal diet must consist of: one-third protein, one- third fat, one- third carbohydrates.


[hr height=”30″ style=”default” line=”default” themecolor=”1″]

Gene expression refers to the process where information from a gene’s DNA sequence is translated into a substance, like a protein, that is used in a cell’s structure or function. A diet with 65% carbohydrates, causes a number of classes of genes to work overtime. This affects not only the genes that cause inflammation in the body, but also genes associated with development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, dementia, type 2 diabetes and all major lifestyle-related diseases. A common dietary advice to keep genes healthy and prevent chronic diseases is one that reduces inflammatory reactions in the body and also minimizes the body’s need to secrete insulin.

Dr. Berit Johansen, a professor of biology at NTNU, says “In choosing what we eat, we choose whether we will provide our genes the weapons that cause disease”.

Be it the ‘youth gene’ or the genes that are linked to cardiovascular diseases, a new balanced diet sheet needs to be drawn keeping in mind that every meal has the right amount of fat, protein and good carbohydrates..


[hr height=”30″ style=”default” line=”default” themecolor=”1″]

Eating disorders can be caused by a mix of sociological, psychological and genetic factors. According to Johansen, “the ability to resist or otherwise, it seems, maybe built into your DNA.” Some noteworthy findings are:

  • The ‘junk food gene’ which is a genetic flaw creates a craving for fatty and sugary food and explains why some can’t resist
  • A rogue version of a gene called FTO, is responsible for two thirds of Britons being obese as a result of being driven to eat high- calorie and energy dense food.
  • Sense of Taste and ability to try new food can also be established by studying specific genes. Those with less- intense receptors (or less taste buds) tend to eat more cruciferous vegetables.
  • The galanin gene and its coded protein may be involved in the regulation of food and alcohol consumption. Researchers found that GAL5.1 acted as a booster to the region of DNA responsible for switching on the GAL gene.

On a positive note, research proves that volunteers showed positive changes within 6 days of diet- change. So remember it’s never too late to alter your food preference in spite of the genetic inclinations.