Genetic variation in the hTAS2R38 taste receptor and food consumption among Finnish adults

Genes Nutr. 2014 Nov;9(6):433. doi: 10.1007/s12263-014-0433-3. Epub 2014 Oct 11.


Genetic variation in bitter taste receptors, such as hTAS2R38, may affect food preferences and intake. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between bitter taste receptor haplotypes and the consumption of vegetables, fruits, berries and sweet foods among an adult Finnish population. A cross-sectional design utilizing data from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns cohort from 2007, which consisted of 1,903 men and women who were 30-45 years of age from five different regions in Finland, was employed. DNA was extracted from blood samples, and hTAS2R38 polymorphisms were determined based on three SNPs (rs713598, rs1726866 and rs10246939). Food consumption was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire. The prevalence of the bitter taste-sensitive (PAV/PAV) haplotype was 11.3 % and that of the insensitive (AVI/AVI) haplotype was 39.5 % among this Finnish population. PAV homozygotic women consumed fewer vegetables than did the AVI homozygotic women, 269 g/day (SD 131) versus 301 g/day (SD 187), respectively, p = 0.03 (multivariate ANOVA). Furthermore, the intake of sweet foods was higher among the PAV homozygotes of both genders. Fruit and berry consumption did not differ significantly between the haplotypes in either gender. Individuals perceive foods differently, and this may influence their patterns of food consumption. This study showed that the hTAS2R38 taste receptor gene variation was associated with vegetable and sweet food consumption among adults in a Finnish population.