Your love for greasy food might be wired into your genes

When it comes to food, we all know it’s important not to judge yourself for what you enjoy eating. Love sweet treats? Good for you! Prefer greasy slices of pizza when you want to indulge? Go for it. While it’s good to avoid assigning labels of “good” vs. “bad” to your food, it’s super interesting to dig into the science behind our food preferences.

In fact, recent research suggests that your love for greasy food might be wired into your genes. Yeah, as in, if you tend to reach for French fries, pizza slices, or some deep-fried desserts, it’s likely that you have a genetic “mutation” wired into your genes.


According to recent research from the University of Cambridge, the neuronal pathways that deal with our melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) in our brains likely play a HUGE role in influencing food choices.

"Our work shows that even if you tightly control the appearance and taste of food, our brains can detect the nutrient content," said senior study author Sadaf Farooqi, a professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge.


For this project, researchers recruited 14 people who have rare MC4R mutations that generally result in having a less active melanocortin signaling. These study participants were able to choose between foods that looked and taste the same (in this case, chicken curry) but contained a range of low, medium, or high-fat levels. Then, participants were given all-you-can-eat buffet style dessert, but had varying levels of sugar in all the treats.


As Knvul Sheikh explains over at Popular Science, "Although they couldn’t tell the differences in fat content or sugar content in the meals, people with MC4R mutations ate almost double the amount of high fat than lean individuals did (95 percent more) and 65 percent more than obese individuals. But interestingly, they liked the high sugar dessert less than their lean and obese counterparts and ate significantly less of all three desserts compared to the other two groups."

So basically, if you love greasy food and your friends just do NOT get why you choose an extra slice of pizza over some cheesecake, don’t sweat it. Just tell them it’s (probably) wired into your genes.