According to new research which analysed 5000 vegetarians and 300,000 meat eaters, there are genes associated with how well someone is able to adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Researchers identified three genes that are strongly identified and another 31 that are potentially identified with vegetarianism. In a genetic analysis, the researchers saw that vegetarians are more likely than non-vegetarians to have different variations of these genes.
This might be because of how different people process lipids, or fats.
Several of the genes that the study found to be associated with vegetarianism had to do with metabolising lipids and given plants and meat differ in the complexity of their lipids, it may be that some people genetically need some lipids offered by meat.
Does your DNA decide your diet?iStock
“At this time we can say is that genetics plays a significant role in vegetarianism and that some people may be genetically better suited for a vegetarian diet than others,” said lead study author Dr. Nabeel Yaseen, professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
“A large proportion of self-described vegetarians actually report consuming meat products when responding to detailed questionnaires,” he said.
“This suggests that many people who would like to be vegetarian are not able to do so, and our data suggest that genetics is at least part of the reason.”