July 15, 2011

Westerners Evolved To Crave Alcohol And Fatty Foods

According to DNA analysis, westerners are genetically programmed to drink alcohol and eat unhealthy foods.

Scientists at Aberdeen University found that those of European origin are more likely to have genes that urge them to eat fatty foods and drink beer and wine.

Dr Alasdair MacKenzie said the genes controlled the strength of a "switch" that helped determine appetite.

He said in a statement: "The switch controls the areas of the brain which allows us to select which foods we would like to eat and if it is turned on too strongly we are more likely to crave fatty foods and alcohol."

He went on: "The fact that the weaker switch is found more frequently in Asians compared to Europeans suggests they are less inclined to select such options."

MacKenzie believes that Europeans in the past had to survive on brewed drinks and fat-rich foods due to the long cold winters, which made them genetically predisposed through natural selection to like them.

He said in a statement: "These results give us a glimpse into early European life where brewing and dairy produce were important sources of calories during the winter months.

"Thus, a preference for food with a higher fat and alcohol content would have been important for survival.

"The negative effects of fat and alcohol we see today would not have mattered so much then as life expectancies were between 30 to 40 years."

MacKenzie said those of Asian origin who moved to Western countries were not immune from obesity or heavy drinking habits. 

The study was published in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmocology.


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