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Bad foods or genes? Researchers identify interplay between junk food consumption and genetics

By Nathan Gray+

24-Mar-2014

Bad foods or genes? Researchers identify interplay between junk food consumption and genetics

The risk of developing obesity from the consumption of fried foods may also depend on our genetic makeup, according to new research.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, researchers have suggested that a genetic predisposition to obesity coupled with high consumption of fried 'junk foods' can be a double whammy for some people.

Led by Lu Qi ofBrigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the new study demonstrates that people with a genetic predisposition to obesity are at a higher risk of obesity and related chronic diseases from eating fried foods - when compared to those with a lower genetic risk.

Results from the study show that eating fried food more than four times a week had twice as big an effect on body mass index (BMI) for those with the highest genetic risk scores compared with lower scores.

The study is the first study to show that the adverse effects of fried foods may vary depending on the genetic makeup of the individual.

"Our study shows that a higher genetic risk of obesity may amplify the adverse effects of fried food consumption on body weight, and high intakes of fried food may also exacerbate the deleterious genetic effects," said Qi.

Frank Hu, a study co-author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health added that the findings indicate that the genetic risk of obesity could be reduced by simply changing eating habits.

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