Some people are more predisposed to obesity than others. A new study involving 37,000 participants has linked fried food consumption and genetic risk associated with obesity and confirmed that the interaction of fried food has an epigenetic impact on fat tissue. The genetic risk score in this study was based on 32 known genetic variants associated with body mass index (BMI) and obesity. Three categories of food consumption were identified: less than once a week, one to three times a week, and four or more times a week. Genetic risk scores ranged from 0 to 64 and those with a higher score had a higher BMI.
The research findings strongly correlated fried food consumption and genetic risk scores with an individual’s body mass index.
Among participants in the highest third of the genetic risk score, the differences in BMI between individuals who consumed fried foods four or more times a week and those who consumed less than once a week were 1.0 kg/m2 in women and 0.7 kg/m2 in men.
For participants in the lowest third of the genetic risk score, the differences were 0.5 kg/m2 in women and 0.4 kg/m2 in men.
Professor Lu Qi the lead study author commented: “Our findings emphasize the importance of reducing fried food consumption in the prevention of obesity, particularly in individuals genetically predisposed to adiposity.”
The study authors point out that the association between fried food consumption and a person’s fat content may vary according to differences in genetic predisposition; and vice versa, that the epigenetic influence on fat tissue may be modified by fried food consumption.
The finding is particularly relevant to the United States which has an epidemic obesity rate in children caused in part by a high junk food and fast food diet. Early intervention with a healthy diet is vital to prevent epigentic changes in body tissue.
Qibin Qi, Audrey Y. Chu, Jae H. Kang, Jinyan Huang, Lynda M. Rose, Majken K. Jensen, Liming Liang, Gary C. Curhan, Louis R. Pasquale, Janey L. Wiggs, Immaculata De Vivo, Andrew T. Chan, Hyon K. Choi, Rulla M. Tamimi, Paul M. Ridker, David J. Hunter, Walter C. Willett, Eric B. Rimm, Daniel I. Chasman, Frank B. Hu, Lu Qi. Fried food consumption, genetic risk, and body mass index: gene-diet interaction analysis in three U.S. cohort studies. British Medical Journal, March 2014