Sex differences in the genetic and environmental underpinnings of meat and plant preferences

Ç. Çınar, Laura Wesseldijk, Annika Karinen, Patrik Jern, Joshua Tybur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

People vary in the degree to which they enjoy eating meats versus plants. This paper examines the genetic and environmental roots of this variation, as well as the genetic and environmental roots of meat neophobia, plant neophobia, and vegetarianism/veganism. Using data from 9319 adult Finnish twins and siblings of twins (551 MZ, 861 DZ complete; 783 MZ, 2692 DZ incomplete twin pairs), we examine the degree to which recalled childhood exposure to meats and plants relates to adult preferences for the same meats and plants. We also investigate sex differences in the heritability of 1) meat and plant preferences, 2) childhood meat and plant consumption, 3) meat and plant neophobia, and the heritability of 4) vegetarianism/veganism. For both men and women, recalled childhood meat consumption correlated more strongly with current meat preferences than current plant preferences, and recalled childhood plant consumption correlated more strongly with current plant preferences than current meat preferences. We detected sex differences in the heritability of childhood meat consumption (h2men = 0.31, h2women = 0.11) and current meat preferences (h2 men = 0.26, h2women = 0.51), but not childhood plant consumption (h2men = 0.41, h2women = 0.17), current plant preferences (h2men = 0.45, h2women = 0.53), meat neophobia (h2men = 0.48, h2women = 0.55) or plant neophobia (h2men = 0.56, h2women = 0.54). Further, different genes undergirded men’s and women’s meat preferences. Abstention from meat (i.e., vegetarianism/veganism) was 76% heritable. These results have implications for hypotheses of the developmental origins of dietary patterns and hypotheses for sex differences in meat consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104421
JournalFood Quality and Preference
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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