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Whatever, Spinach Is Just Gross

Researchers from the University of Trieste and the Burlo Garofolo Institute for Maternal and Child Health in Italy have linked some 17 genes to preferences for foods like broccoli, liver, and blue cheese, the D-brief blog at Discover reports.

The researchers performed a genome-wide association study on some 2,300 people from Italy and 1,700 from other part of Europe or Central Asia, while also asking how much they like 42 different foods. None of those 17 genes, though, encode a taste or smell receptor, so the D-brief blog notes that how these genes have their influence is not clear.

Another study took such findings to the next step to tailor diets — a nutrigenomic approach, if you will — based on how people process food.

Based on genetic testing of metabolism-related genes, Trieste researchers developed personalized 600-calorie deficit diets for a cohort of 100 obese people. A control group was placed on an untailored 600-calorie deficit diet. While both groups lost weight, the New Scientist reports that those in the tailored-diet cohort lost 33 percent more weight.

Trieste researcher Nicola Piratsu tells the New Scientist such nutrigenomic work could help customize people's diets to include the nutrients they need while avoiding tastes they don't. For instance, the compound in spinach that people don't like could be masked by cooking it differently or by adding in another ingredient.