Gene-Diet Interactions in Complex Disease: Current Findings and Relevance for Public Health

Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Current nutrition reports 12/2012; 1(4):222-227. DOI: 10.1007/s13668-012-0029-8
Source: PubMed


Rates of obesity and related complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease have climbed sharply over the past decades, in parallel with shift from principally more active lifestyle and nutritionally dense tradition diet to sedentary lifestyle and more energy-dense, Western-pattern diet. In the past few years, advances in genotyping technology and in particular a number of large-scale genome-wide association studies have made great strides in unraveling the genetic basis of complex diseases; and the growing inventory of genetic variation is facilitating efforts to investigate gene-diet interactions. Understanding gene-diet interaction has the potential to promote diet modifications on the basis of genetic makeup. Several recent large-scale studies found reproducible evidence showing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages or dietary patterns might modulate genetic predisposition to obesity or cardiovascular disease. Analyses in randomized trials also showed that genetic markers for obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease might modify the metabolic response to weight-loss diets. However, little of the knowledge about gene-diet interaction has been applied in public health practice; and opinion on how genetic testing services are offered and interpreted is still divided. This review will summarize recent findings regarding obesogenic diet, genetic susceptibility, and gene-diet interactions for obesity and related complex disorders and will discuss the potential impact of these findings on public health practice.

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