If you absolutely cannot function without coffee, or find yourself putting bacon on everything you eat, those cravings could be genetic.
Researchers at the University of Trieste, and the Burlo Garofolo Institute for Maternal and Child Health performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to locate the genes that cause us to prefer certain foods over others. The study found 17 genes that connect to liking certain food such as coffee, bacon, ice cream and dark chocolate.
More than 4,000 subjects from Europe and Central Asia were used in the study, as the researchers used cheek swabs to gather the their DNA. The way GWAS work, complete sets of DNA are scanned to find genetic variations. During this process, 17 specific genes were strongly linked to certain food preferences.
The results showed that the subjects had genes partial to this food: artichokes, bacon, broccoli, coffee, chicory, dark chocolate, blue cheese, ice cream, buttered bread, orange juice, plain yogurt, white wine and mushrooms.
However, none of the genes in the study encoded taste or smell receptors, so the researchers could not conclude why these cravings exist, only that they do exist.
Nicola Piratsu, the lead author in the study said that they hope to be able to customize people’s diets according to their genetic makeup. So if there is a certain food one doesn’t like, like let’s say broccoli, it can be prepared differently to connect genetic preferences and make you more inclined to eat it.
So there might be a diet out there to make Stewie Griffin enjoy the villainous veggies he grew up hating.
These studies are all a part of nutrigenetics, which explore the effects between nutritional food and genetic information to find how it relates to ones health.