The regulation of food intake and body weight involves two interacting systems: (a) The homeostatic system (including biological regulators of hunger and satiety) and (b) the non-homeostatic system, (involving concepts of food reinforcement and food addiction). Studies have established a strong genetic component in eating behavior and obesity. The TaqI A1 polymorphism (rs1800497) has previously been associated with eating behavior, diminished dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) density, higher body mass, and food reinforcement, but relations to food addiction remain unclear.
To evaluate the association between the polymorphism rs1800497 with eating behavior, food reinforcement and food addiction in Chilean adults.
This cross-sectional study recruited a convenience sample of 97 obese, 25 overweight and 99 normal-weight adults (18–35 years). Anthropometric measurements were performed by standard procedures. Eating behavior was assessed using the: Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS), the Three Factor Eating Behavior Questionnaire and the Food Reinforcement Value Questionnaire (FRVQ). The DRD2 genotype (rs1800497) was determined by taqman assays.
Twenty-two percentage of the participants met the criteria for food addiction. Food addiction was higher in women than men (26% vs 10.7%) and in obese compared to non-obese (40% vs 6%). There was no relationship between food addiction and DRD2 genotype. However when stratified by sex and nutritional status, obese female carriers of the A1 allele reported greater scores on emotional eating and snack food reinforcement compared to non-carriers.
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute