Game Of Cones: Genes Link Preference For Chocolate Or Vanilla

All of us love ice cream, but we differ in our choice of flavors. Selecting a flavor is more than just ‘Eeny meanie minie mo’; there are a lot of factors that play a role, including the number and type of taste buds that are coded in our taste receptor genes.

There is either the humble yet delicious vanilla loving person or the chocolate lover, but people seldom switch between the two.

How well do you taste a particular flavor? How does your brain respond to it? Let’s find out more about ice cream genes and how they scream for vanilla or chocolate


More about the “ice cream genes”

With the amount of fat and flavors that are loaded into an ice cream, along with the ‘melt in your mouth’ texture and plenty of add-ons like chocolate chips and syrups, there seems no reason why someone would say no.

Unless, you are the kind that like your ice cream without the add-ons, even so, there is plenty to learn from your genes which can tell you more than just what flavor you like.


Fun Fact: Approximately 86 percent of Americans eat ice cream at least once a week and the ice cream market is anticipated to reach $10.5 billion by 2021.

23andMe research on ice cream flavor preference.


Are your genes talking to you?

Two studies conducted by 23andme researchers looked at preference for an ice cream flavor and associated genetic variants.

When the researchers looked at people who showed a preference for vanilla or chocolate, 45 genetic markers identified were differences between these groups.

Some of these genetic markers were near genes associated with the sense of smell and taste.

Ever heard of the idiom, taste with your nose?

Or wondered why food tastes different when your nose is blocked?

This study provides reasons as to how the sense of smell and taste are interlinked,  by your genes of course!


Gene variants code for receptors in the nose that detect various odors, while the receptors in the tongue taste the flavor.


The signals from both these sets of receptors are important for determining taste.

Similar genetic variants were identified in another similar study on preference for vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.


Milk chocolate lover: a chocolate or a vanilla person?

According to the study by the 23andMe research team, certain genetic variants identified for flavor preference were the same as those identified for preference for dark chocolate or milk chocolate.

This means that people who prefer dark chocolate liked stronger flavors while people who prefer milk chocolate liked more subtle flavors.

So, if you are planning to try a new flavor and are wondering if you would like it, your genes could help you find the answer.


23andme raw data tools for analysis

Xcode Life’s Gene Nutrition report analyzes your genetic variations in preference for bitter foods, sweet foods, and fatty foods, giving you an insight into your taste preference.

There are more than 30 traits covered in the report, including gluten sensitivity, risk for alcohol flush, micronutrient requirements, macronutrient metabolism and more.

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