Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Holiday Eating Is An Inherited Trait, Says GSU Psychologist

Date:
November 18, 1998
Source:
Georgia State University
Summary:
Cool weather, holiday parties and big family dinners: it all adds up to more chances to overeat. But genetics have a much stronger influence in pulling us to the table than do weather or social situations, says Georgia State University Psychologist John de Castro, whose research shows that heredity may have more to do with what, when and how much we eat than any other factor.

ATLANTA -- Cool weather, holiday parties and big family dinners: it all adds up to more chances to overeat. But genetics have a much stronger influence in pulling us to the table than do weather or social situations, says Georgia State University Psychologist John de Castro, whose research shows that heredity may have more to do with what, when and how much we eat than any other factor.

A few years ago, de Castro published research showing that people tend to eat more as the weather cools and they spend more time feasting in larger groups. Now he's zeroed in on why: it's genetic. He studied adult twins who kept diaries on their food intake for several months, finding that the amount, type and frequency of their eating was indeed influenced by everything from change of season, the number of other people present and Circadian rhythms, but that no single factor influenced people's eating patterns more than genetic makeup.

Heredity probably influences how we respond to environmental changes like cooling weather and large-group social situations in the first place, de Castro says.

"We find that identical twins, even if they live in completely different environments, tend to eat about the same amount of food, " de Castro says. The amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins they ate were also similar, the study showed. They even ate at similar times. "It's all influenced by genes."

A behavioral psychologist, de Castro used computer modeling to study the diet-diary reports of more than 250 pairs of adult fraternal and identical twins who lived and ate apart from each other in an effort to determine how genetics affected what they ate; the results indicated overwhelmingly that genetics affect all aspects of eating behavior.

Think about all the factors that can influence what you eat during the course of a day. One day you're invited to a banquet and surrounded by a huge amount of food; the next day you go to dinner with a large group of friends and overeat; the next day a hectic schedule forces you to skip a meal. De Castro wanted to know how we regulate food intake when it's obviously influenced by so many different things.

"That's what's so intriguing -- heredity indicates how this can occur. Genes dictate not only the amount of body fat a person has but also how much they want to be in a particular social situation, and how much they eat while they're there," de Castro says. "So genes are not only influencing behavior, but they also seem to be indirectly influencing the environment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia State University. "Holiday Eating Is An Inherited Trait, Says GSU Psychologist." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981118080658.htm>.
Georgia State University. (1998, November 18). Holiday Eating Is An Inherited Trait, Says GSU Psychologist. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981118080658.htm
Georgia State University. "Holiday Eating Is An Inherited Trait, Says GSU Psychologist." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981118080658.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins