Many chefs succeed in demonstrating how vegetables can replace meat as long as their flavor is extracted as much as possible. But it is clear that switching to a vegetarian diet is not that simple. This would in fact not be given to everyone, to the extent that genes would be involved in the ability of some people to know how to do without meat.
On a global scale, it is estimated that the food system is responsible for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. An environmental reality that is unlikely to improve if the OECD’s projections come to fruition. The European Organization for Economic Studies estimates in a report describing the agricultural outlook between 2021 and 2030 that meat consumption should increase by 14%, which will irremediably lead to the expansion of agricultural crops on 4% of land. in addition. The production of meat, dairy products and all the crops needed to feed livestock already monopolize 80% of the Earth’s agricultural land.
What if becoming vegetarian depended on your genes?
So it’s decided, you’re going to try going on a vegetarian diet again! It’s not for lack of trying though. But, nothing helps, with each attempt, you end up breaking down and adding animal protein to the menu. It wouldn’t actually be your fault! The reason could be found in… your DNA. In a recent study published in the scientific journal Plos One, American and British researchers explain that “these results confirm the role of genetics in the choice of a vegetarian diet and open the door to future studies aimed at further elucidating the pathways physiological aspects involved in vegetarianism.
One of the authors who participated in the study, Doctor Nabeel Yaseen, professor emeritus of pathology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, reports more concretely, in a press release, that “Although religious and moral considerations certainly play a major role in motivating people to adopt a vegetarian diet, our data suggest that the ability to adhere to such a diet is limited by genetics.“.
Certain lipid components only in meat
In this case, it is a question of understanding the important role that lipids play in the metabolism of consumers. Some people actually couldn’t live without it. Several genes have been identified as being associated with vegetarianism. Some of them are involved when the body synthesizes lipids while they are also involved in brain function. “Complex lipids are one area where plant products differ from meat“, details the researcher. And to speculate”meat could contain lipid components that some people need. And perhaps people whose genetics favor vegetarianism are able to synthesize these components endogenously. However, at the moment this is just speculation and there is still much work to be done to understand the physiology of vegetarianism“.
To obtain these conclusions, the work consisted of comparing the genetic data of 5,324 vegetarians, consuming nothing other than plants, to 329,455 “guinea pigs” who eat meat. The composition of meals eaten between 2006 and 2019 was analyzed to provide as many elements as possible for comparison.
Genetics and food preferences: surprising research
Note that this is not the first time that a link between genetics and food preferences has been established. A previous study, published in the journal Nature, shed light on why some consumers hate coriander. Two genes had been identified, one related to the appreciation of odors and the other responsible for the link between taste and smell.