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article imageResearch: Is your coffee habit putting you at a health risk?

By Tim Sandle     Feb 16, 2020 in Health
Some foods and drinks are good for you, others less so. But why are some people affected and not others? To investigate the factors, a research group have identified nine gene groups connected with different foods and disease risks.
The nine gene groups correlate with particular types of food and drink, such as red meat, tofu, cheese, tea, and coffee. Further investigation from the Japanese scientists finds that three of the gene groups are connected to developing specific diseases like cancer or diabetes.
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The study comes from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, where the scientists posed the research question whether a disease is related to a specific genetic variation?
To assess this, a large database was constructed drawing on medical information in relation to 160,000 Japanese citizens. Here information pertaining to hundreds of thousands of people were assessed, examining for selected diseases and comparing the genomes of those affected. The researchers then examined the whole genome, tracking any variations in DNA (single nucleotide polymorphisms, which are the most common genetic variations among different people).
File photo: The power of the genetic code: DNA recovered from fluids is now standard evidence in cri...
File photo: The power of the genetic code: DNA recovered from fluids is now standard evidence in crime cases
Mohamed ABDIWAHAB, AFP
The information was then compared with diet. This led to the second stage of the research, which was to consider if any specific genetic variations lead to people becoming "at risk" in terms of regularly consuming certain foods. The information about dietary habits was drawn from food questionnaires, which not only examined types of food consumed but also the frequency of consumption.
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The information was then compared with diet. This led to the second stage of the research, which was to consider if any specific genetic variations lead to people becoming "at risk" in terms of regularly consuming certain foods. The information about dietary habits was drawn from food questionnaires, which not only examined types of food consumed but also the frequency of consumption.
The findings revealed there are nine genetic loci (positions on chromosomes) connected with the consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol, yogurt, cheese, natto (fermented soy beans), tofu, fish, vegetables, or meat.
Tofu  aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot 
with homemade tofu  chilli and black bean sauce.
Tofu, aubergine and Japanese mushroom claypot with homemade tofu, chilli and black bean sauce.
Some of these interactions were positive, such as with eating cheese and yogurt. Others were more negative, such as connected to coffee consumption and alcohol in terms of specific diseases being expressed, such as cancer and type-2 diabetes.
Such findings only impact upon certain individuals. What the research does pave the way for is further research geared towards dietary habits and the genetic profiles of individuals, in relation to the possibility of developing certain diseases.
The research findings have been published in the journal Nature Human Behavior. The peer-reviewed research study is titled “GWAS of 165,084 Japanese individuals identified nine loci associated with dietary habits.”
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