Chocolate and the sweet taste receptor gene TAS1R2

Last Updated on

January 31, 2018 – Chocolate and the sweet taste receptor gene TAS1R2 may make the life of some obese children and adolescents rather difficult in that genetic variations in TAS1R2 appear related to chocolate powder and dietary fiber intake in these young individuals.

This comes out of a study by a research team at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil,  just published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine (JPM) on January 29, 2018. Childhood obesity is a major public health problem. It has a direct impact on the quality of life of children and adolescents, as well as on their future risk of developing chronic diseases. Dietary patterns rich in fats and sugars and lacking dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals, as well as lack of physical exercise have been associated with the rise of obesity prevalence.

However, factors that contribute to the preference for foods rich in these nutrients are not well established. Taste is recognized as an important predictor of food choices, and polymorphisms in taste-related genes may explain the variability of taste preference and food intake. The aim of this research was therefore to evaluate the influence of polymorphisms of the sweet taste receptor gene TAS1R2 on diet and metabolic profile in obese children and adolescents.

The research team carried out a  cross-sectional study with 513 obese children and adolescents and 135 normal-weight children. They performed a molecular study on the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs9701796 and rs35874116 of the sweet taste receptor gene TAS1R2, and dietary intake, anthropometric parameters (weight, height, waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio (WHtR)), and metabolic profile (including fasting glucose, insulin, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)–cholesterol, and leptin levels) were analyzed. The variant rs9701796 of TAS1R2 was associated with increased waist-height ratio, as well as with a higher chocolate powder intake in obese children. In contrast, the variant rs35874116 TAS1R2 was associated with a lower dietary fiber intake.

This study illustrates that there is probably no relationship between genotypes of TAS1R2 and risk of obesity. However, obese adolescents carrying the serine allele of SNP rs9701796 in TAS1R2 showed higher waist-to-height ratio and chocolate powder intake, whereas those carrying the valine allele of SNP rs35874116 in TAS1R2 were characterized by lower dietary fiber intake, meaning that variations in on single gene, in this case of TAS1R2 might contribute to difficulties in controlling much needed behaviour, like reducing eating chocolate for individuals who would need it most.

Once in a while, one might have to restrain from devastating judgements on the behaviour of individuals, who just can’t help themselves, because it is in their genes. Carriers of allelic variation in TAS1R2, obese or not, might just be one of those examples. Needless to say that the vast majority of the affected individuals do not yet have the slightest idea where their urge for chocolate (powders) and their resistance to eating of fibres might come from. This is the true pity. The peers of these individuals (children, obese children, adolescents, and grown up people with excessive chocolate eating habits) most likely also have not the slightest clue, why their loved ones can’t help but crave for chocolate instead of fibers.  TAS1R2 might be one of the answers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
About the Author
thassodotcom Ph.D.; Professor in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Senior expert in theragenomic and personalized medicine and individualized drug safety. Senior expert in pharmaco- and toxicogenetics. Senior expert in human safety of drugs, chemicals, environmental pollutants, and dietary ingredients.
1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Chocolate and the sweet taste receptor gene TAS1R2"

Your opinion


No comments yet

thasso: conditions

thasso: tweets

thasso post: magazine

View my Flipboard Magazine.

thasso: categories

thasso: archives

thasso: simple chat

You must be a registered user to participate in this chat.

  • 30-year study identifies need of disease-modifying therapies for maple syrup urine disease January 24, 2020
    A new study analyzes 30 years of patient data and details the clinical course of 184 individuals with genetically diverse forms of Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), which is among the most volatile and dangerous inherited metabolic disorders. Researchers collected data on survival, hospitalization rates, metabolic crises, liver transplantation, and cognitive outcome. This represents the […]
  • TP53 gene variant in people of African descent linked to iron overload, may improve malaria response January 24, 2020
    In a study by The Wistar Institute and collaborators, a rare, African-specific variant of the TP53 gene called P47S causes iron accumulation in macrophages and other cell types and is associated with poorer response to bacterial infections, along with markers of iron overload in African Americans. Macrophage iron accumulation disrupts their function, resulting in more […]
  • Scientists highlight potential of exposome research January 23, 2020
    Over the last two decades, the health sciences have been transformed by genomics, which has provided insights into genetic risk factors for human disease. While powerful, the genomics revolution has also revealed the limits of genetic determinants, which account for only a fraction of total disease risk. A new article in the journal Science argues […]
  • Researchers uncover mechanism for how common gene therapy vectors enter cells January 23, 2020
    Researchers led by a team at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have identified a novel cellular entry factor for adeno-associated virus vector (AAV) types—the most commonly used viral vectors for in vivo gene therapy. AAVs are vectors—or vehicles—that are created from a virus that is made harmless by molecular engineering, and have shown promise transporting genetic […]
  • Largest-ever study ties over 100 genes to autism January 23, 2020
    More than 100 genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to the largest genetic study of the condition to date.
  • More than 40% of status epilepticus patients suffer adverse outcomes January 24, 2020
    A new study published in Seizure gives insight into the short-term outcome of patients treated for status epilepticus in Kuopio University Hospital in Finland. The researchers found a 9% risk of death and a 32% risk of functional loss at one month after status epilepticus. The patient's risk of death could be predicted relatively reliably […]
  • A new twist on quantum communication in fiber January 24, 2020
    New research done at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Huazhang University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, has exciting implications for secure data transfer across optical fiber networks.
  • The regulators active during iron deficiency January 24, 2020
    Iron deficiency is a critical situation for plants, which respond using specific genetic programmes. Biologists from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and Michigan State University (MSU) used artificial intelligence methods to examine how to predict regulatory genetic sequences. They have now published the findings from their joint research work in the journal Plant Physiology.
  • Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation January 24, 2020
    A sustained state of vigilance will generate a different type of memory than a momentary startle, and these differences are linked to distinct signaling molecules in the brains of mice. Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science (CBS) have visualized these dynamics in the living mouse brain for the first time, observing two molecular […]
  • What goes up may actually be down January 24, 2020
    A new study in Frontiers in Neuroscience used virtual reality to determine how people plan their movements by 'seeing' gravity using visual cues in the landscape around them, rather than 'feeling it' through changes in weight and balance.