Food Preferences of Patients with Citrin Deficiency

Nutrients. 2021 Sep 6;13(9):3123. doi: 10.3390/nu13093123.


Citrin deficiency is characterized by a wide range of symptoms from infancy through adulthood and presents a distinct preference for a diet composed of high protein, high fat, and low carbohydrate. The present study elucidates the important criteria by patients with citrin deficiency for food selection through detailed analysis of their food preferences. The survey was conducted in 70 citrin-deficient patients aged 2-63 years and 55 control subjects aged 2-74 years and inquired about their preference for 435 food items using a scale of 1-4 (the higher, the more favored). The results showed that the foods marked as "dislike" accounted for 36.5% in the patient group, significantly higher than the 16.0% in the controls. The results also showed that patients clearly disliked foods with 20-24 (% of energy) or less protein, 45-54% (of energy) or less fat, and 30-39% (of energy) or more carbohydrate. Multiple regression analysis showed carbohydrates had the strongest influence on patients' food preference (β = -0.503). It also showed female patients had a stronger aversion to foods with high carbohydrates than males. The protein, fat, and carbohydrate energy ratio (PFC) of highly favored foods among patients was almost the same as the average PFC ratio of their daily diet (protein 20-22: fat 47-51: carbohydrates 28-32). The data strongly suggest that from early infancy, patients start aspiring to a nutritional balance that can compensate for the metabolism dissonance caused by citrin deficiency in every food.

Keywords: CTLN2; SLC25A13; adult-onset type II citrullinemia; aspartate glutamate carrier; carbohydrate toxicity; citrin; citrullinemia; diet therapy; food preference.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / deficiency*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organic Anion Transporters / deficiency*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Young Adult


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • citrin