"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Being a vegetarian might be related to genetics

October 5, 2023 – People who're vegetarian could have genetic reasons for sticking with it, in response to a brand new study.

Researchers have discovered various genes linked to individuals who followed a vegetarian weight loss program for a minimum of a 12 months.

The results were published this week within the journal PLUS ONE.

“The take-home message is that a vegetarian diet may or may not be right for you depending on your genetics,” said Nabeel Yaseen, the study's lead writer and professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University. NBC News“You don’t have to blame yourself if you can’t really stick with it.”

Researchers studied the genetics of hundreds of people that shared medical and lifestyle information with the UK Biobank, which incorporates data on about 500,000 people.

They analyzed about 5,300 vegetarians and about 329,000 meat eaters. Vegetarians were defined as individuals who abstained from eating animal meat or animal products for a minimum of one 12 months, based on questionnaires accomplished for the biobank.

Researchers have identified three genes which might be closely linked to vegetarianism. All are situated on a chromosome that's involved in brain function and the breakdown of fats for energy.

Another 31 genes were linked to vegetarianism and a few also played a task in fat burning.

“We suspect that the ability to follow a vegetarian diet may have something to do with how you manage fats in your body and how that affects brain function,” Yaseen said.

He said the research only shows a genetic connection and never a direct causal effect.