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Overweight?? Blame your genes

It’s always the fat kid who gets blamed for eating the last cookie or finishing the last bag of chips. People are always expecting him to take seconds, and will hide the good snack from him because they know he won’t hesitate to finish it. Unfortunately, he gets made fun of sometimes for his weight. However, it may not be all his fault…he may have something other than his food intake to blame for his heavier complex…

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A recent article has shown  that certain genes in our DNA may be indirectly responsible for human obesity. These two genes, TAS2R38, a bitter taste receptor, and CD36, a fat receptor, are now believed to “play a role in some people’s ability to taste and enjoy dietary fat.” Many factors, including food texture and smell are proven to affect how fat is perceived in our mouths. However, these two genes could be the responsible for tasting and thus directly responsible for wanting certain fats.

A recent study tested this theory of the genes. Scientists focused on only one ethnic group, and conducted an experiment to determine the fat preference and corresponding gene CD36 status of over 300 African Americans. Results showed that higher genetic variance that was directly “associated with higher preferences for added fats and oils,” including salad dressing and cooking oils. In addition, they discovered that those with the genetic variance of CD36 prefered “dressings creamier” than those without the variance, suggesting that the CD36 gene directly affects the preference for fats. Investigators than targeted the second gene, TAS2R38, and found that 70% of people are “tasters” of bitter compounds while others are “nontasters.” Those that were nontasters were found to have more fewer buds for these compounds, which was directly the result of the gene. As a result, these individuals had more difficulty detecting the presence of fats, and thus consume more fats to compensate. The gene was indirectly responsible for the wanting of fats.


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  1. buddhabear28

    Honestly, I am slightly confused by this article. It doesn’t make sense to me why the scientists only experimented with one ethnic group and how a gene would affect peoples’ ability to detect fatty foods when there are many food pyramids and charts that determine which foods are fatty. Though genes may have something to do with being overweight, I think the most important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight is eating right and exercising. Check out this food pyramid as a guide for healthy eating!

  2. sweetasglucose

    Whether or not obseity is genetic or the fault of the human is a very relavent issue during today. In November of 2010, the question was raised as to whether obesity should be considered a disease ,like alcoholism is considered. If sciencetist can prove that obseity is something genetic, it could be covered by insurance companies, therefore helping more people cure or control their disease. Here is an article more on the issue. If your interested, you should totally check it out.

  3. k2l2

    It is interesting to me that DNA can play such a role in our ability to taste. This post mentions the tendency of people to perceive fats and oils in different ways. Did you know that there are also genes that determine whether a person likes bitter foods or not? In my family we are perfectly divided – half love brussel sprouts, and half cannot even stand the smell. Apparently, this is probably due to our genes (guess I got that one from dad).
    For more information:

  4. 12whiteal

    Wow cool article Nicleus2! It makes a lot of sense that there is a gene for being overweight. Especially since the rise of obesity in America. However genes are not the only aspect of the prevalance of obesity. In fact alot of other things are components of obesity, like getting enough sleep, pollution and certain medicine, just to name a few. check this article out if you want to learn more!

  5. carlybio12

    that is so interesting! similarly to how people blame fat people for “eating the last cookie,” when people think of food like chocolate they always think of it as bad or something that will make you obese. chocolate has alot of positive qualities that you may not be aware of! Chocolate can lower cholesterol and blood pressure!

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