Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Taste Receptor Genes Are Associated with Snacking Patterns of Preschool-Aged Children in the Guelph Family Health Study: A Pilot Study
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Snacking is an integral component of eating habits in young children that is often overlooked in nutrition research. While snacking is a substantial source of calories in preschoolers' diets, there is limited knowledge about the factors that drive snacking patterns. The genetics of taste may help to better understand the snacking patterns of children. The rs1761667 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the CD36 gene has been linked to fat taste sensitivity, the rs35874116 SNP in the TAS1R2 gene has been related to sweet taste preference, and the rs713598 SNP in the TAS2R38 gene has been associated with aversion to bitter, green leafy vegetables. This study seeks to determine the cross-sectional associations between three taste receptor SNPs and snacking patterns among preschoolers in the Guelph Family Health Study. Preschoolers' snack quality, quantity, and frequency were assessed using three-day food records and saliva was collected for SNP genotyping (n = 47). Children with the TT genotype in TAS1R2 consumed snacks with significantly more calories from sugar, and these snacks were consumed mostly in the evening. Total energy density of snacks was highest in the CC and CG genotypes compared to the GG genotype in TAS2R38, and also greater in the AA genotype in CD36 compared to G allele carriers, however this difference was not individually attributable to energy from fat, carbohydrates, sugar, or protein. Genetic variation in taste receptors may influence snacking patterns of preschoolers.
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