The results help explain why some people struggle when placed on a low-fat diet and may one day assist people in selecting diets that are easier for them to follow. The results also may help food developers create new low-fat foods that taste better.
“Fat is universally palatable to humans,” said Kathleen Keller, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, Penn State. “Yet we have demonstrated for the first time that people who have particular forms of the CD36 gene tend to like higher fat foods more and may be at greater risk for obesity compared to those who do not have this form of the gene. In animals, CD36 is a necessary gene for the ability to both detect and develop preferences for fat. Our study is one of the first to show this relationship in humans.”