You Are What You Eat and Drink
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is linked with a greater genetic susceptibility to high body mass index (BMI) and increased risk of obesity. The study reinforces the view that environmental and genetic factors may act together to shape obesity risk.
The study appears September 21, 2012 in an advance online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Our study for the first time provides reproducible evidence from three prospective cohorts to show genetic and dietary factors—sugar-sweetened beverages—may mutually influence their effects on body weight and obesity risk. The findings may motivate further research on interactions between genomic variation and environmental factors regarding human health,” said Lu Qi, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and senior author of the study.
In the past three decades, consumption of SSBs has increased dramatically worldwide. Although widespread evidence supports a link between SSBs, obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, there has been little research on whether environmental factors, such as drinking sugary beverages, influence genetic predisposition to obesity.