We knew it - the desire for chocolate is programmed into our genes
IF YOU THOUGHT your chocolate-scoffing was just a sign of greediness, you can breathe a sigh of relief – scientists have found that a love of chocolate is programmed into our metabolism.
For the first time, researchers have found that choc-cravings are fuelled by a chemical signature programmed into a person’s metabolism (the chemical process that takes place in the body).
The research, published yesterday in the Journal of Proteome Research showed that this signature reads ‘chocolate lover’ in some people and indifference to the sweet in others.
A team in Switzerland studied 11 volunteers who classified themselves on a questionnaire as ‘chocolate desiring’ and 11 volunteers who were ‘chocolate indifferent’. In a controlled clinical study, each subject – all men of normal weight – ate chocolate or placebo over a five-day period while the make-up of chemicals in their blood and urine samples was analysed.
The ‘chocolate lovers’ had a hallmark metabolic profile that involved low levels of LDL-cholesterol (so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol) and marginally elevated levels of albumin, a beneficial protein, the scientists say.
The chocolate lovers showed this tell-tale chemical profile, a different pattern of fats, even when they ate no chocolate.
Professor Nicholson, who led the study, told the Telegraph: ‘This is the first demonstration that a dietary preference has an imprinted effect on your metabolism and that might link to all sorts of long term health implications – interestingly the chocolate-preferring people had a better gut microbial metabolite profile than the people that don’t like chocs.’
He added: ‘Our study shows that food preferences, including chocolate, might be programmed or imprinted into our metabolic system in such a way that the body becomes attuned to a particular diet.
‘Knowing one’s metabolic profile could open the door to dietary or nutritional interventions that are customised to your type so that your metabolism can be nudged to a healthier status.’