Research Updates | Consumption
Finding: Genetic factors appear to influence pre-schooler snacking patterns, with SNiPs linked to sweet preference on taste receptor genes associated with greater energy intake from snacks with higher sugar content.
Summary: Snacking is integral to young children’s eating habits, but little is known about the driving factors. This study sought to find associations between three known taste-receptor single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNiPs) and snacking patterns in pre-schoolers in the Guelph Family Health Study. The three SNiPs genotyped were fat taste sensitivity on CD36 gene, sweet taste preference on the TAS1R2 gene, and aversion to bitter, green leafy vegetables on the TAS2R38 gene. Snack quality, quantity and frequency were assessed using a 3-day food record. Children with the TT genotype on the TAS1R2 (sweet preference) gene consumed more snacks with significantly more energy from sugar and consumed mostly in the evening. Total energy density was highest for children without GG genotype in TAS2R38 (bitter aversion), and also greater in the AA genotype on CD36 (fat sensitive) although this was not attributable to any particular nutrient. The authors conclude genetic variation in taste receptors may influence snacking patterns in pre-schoolers.
Citation: Chamoun E, Hutchinson JM, Krystia O et al. SNiPs in taste receptor genes are associated with snacking patterns in preschool-aged children in the Guelph Family Health Study: a pilot study. Nutrients 2018; 10(20):153