Scientists have discovered that people living in Europe feel more attracted to eating junk food and drinking alcohol than people who live in Eastern parts of the world.
DNA analysis has found that Westerners may have evolved to be more inclined to make such dietary choices, after having to survive cold winters by consuming calorific foods and drinks.
Research showed that Europeans were more likely to have strong genes which control a ‘switch’ within the body that works to regulate appetites.
Meanwhile, the study found that people of Asian descent had weaker genetic switches, suggesting they are less likely to choose to consume junk food.
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The investigation was carried out by scientists at the University of Aberdeen and the results have been published in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmocology.
“The switch controls the areas of the brain which allows us to select which foods we would like to eat and if it is turned on too strongly we are more likely to crave fatty foods and alcohol,” said Dr Alasdair MacKenzie, who led the study.
“The fact that the weaker switch is found more frequently in Asians compared to Europeans suggests they are less inclined to select such options.”
MacKenzie added: “A preference for food with a higher fat and alcohol content would have been important for survival.
“The negative effects of fat and alcohol we see today would not have mattered so much then as life expectancies were between 30 and 40 years.”