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Salty Gene

People who harbor a certain gene variant are more likely to salt their food, Food & Wine reports.

According to Live Science, the University of Kentucky's Jennifer Smith reported at the American Heart Association meeting that people with a certain TAS2R4 variation consume much more salt — more than the recommended limit of 2,300 mg — than people without that variant. TAS2R4 has been linked previously to increased bitter perception and the avoidance of green leafy vegetables and broccoli, it further notes. The Telegraph says that the increased salt usage could mean that people who taste bitter keenly may also have an enhanced taste of salt or could be using salt to mask the bitter taste.

For their study of 407 people from rural Kentucky with at least two existing heart disease risk factors, Smith and her colleagues followed the participants' diets and tested their sensitivity to bitter takes, Food & Wine adds. "We found that people who tasted bitter more keenly were in fact 1.9 times more likely to be non-adherent to the sodium guidelines," Smith says.

In a statement, she adds that by "identifying which gene variant a person has, we may be able to help them make better food choices through education that is personally tailored to them."