, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 175-183
Date: 04 Jul 2012

Genetic Predisposition and Taste Preference: Impact on Food Intake and Risk of Chronic Disease


Nutritional intake can profoundly impact the development of human disease, mainly by driving the progression of obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Taste perception can profoundly affect food preference and nutritional intake. Thus, human variation in taste responsiveness to certain foods may play an integral role in these health consequences by influencing nutrient assimilation. Therefore, we review here what is currently known about variation in taste perception, its genetic underpinnings, and how this variation may impact upon nutrient ingestion. We also provide a brief primer on the functional organization of the peripheral gustatory system. Elucidation of the mechanisms underpinning the association between taste perception, eating behavior, and energy regulation could be valuable in predicting who is at greater risk of becoming obese, as well as in finding novel therapeutic targets in the management and mitigation of obesity-related conditions.