ATR twins are helping researchers to unlock why some people crave fatty food more than others, and the link to weight gain and obesity.

We know a high intake of fatty food can lead to weight gain and obesity, a condition with serious health consequences including cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research in Melbourne have already found that some people are less sensitive to the taste of fat i.e. they are less able to detect fat in foods. They consume more fatty foods and weigh more than those who are more sensitive to the taste of fat.

With the help of twins, researchers are now seeking to better understand whether it is genetics, or the environment in which a person lives, that influence dietary fat intake.

The first stage of this study saw 50 ATR twin pairs visit Deakin University’s sensory laboratory to taste a range of different foods and to answer questions about their eating habits and food preferences.

Initial findings indicate that the complex interplay of a person’s taste receptors, hormonal factors, perceived satiety, and preference for high fat foods may lead to consuming excess fat.

Researchers wish to examine these ideas further through a new twin study, and are asking twin pairs to take part in a 12 week program where one twin has a high fat diet and the other a low fat diet. It is hoped these findings will contribute to improved treatments for weight gain and obesity.

Identical and non-identical twins are needed, aged 16-years and older, who are able to attend Deakin University’s sensory laboratory in Melbourne. Twins from the earlier taste-test study are welcome to join in again. To learn more about this study and register your interest, visit this link or freecall 1800-037-021.

Early findings indicate that the complex interplay of a person’s taste receptors, hormonal factors, perceived satiety, and preference for high fat foods may lead to consuming excess fat.
Photo:ATR members and ambassadors, Laura and Emily Sayers who starred on TV Channel 9’s “The Block”, try different foods as part of a study to measure fat taste sensitivity.

Twins Research Australia

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Twins Research Australia is a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and housed within the University of Melbourne.

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