Food cravings, food addiction, and a dopamine-resistant (DRD2 A1) receptor polymorphism in Asian American college students (2016)

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2016;25(2):424-9. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.102015.05.

Yeh J1, Trang A2, Henning SM2, Wilhalme H3, Carpenter C2, Heber D2, Li Z2.


in English, Chinese


In an era where obesity remains an important public health concern, food addiction has emerged as a possible contributor to obesity. The DRD2 gene is the most studied polymorphism. The aim of this study was to investigate a relationship between food addiction questionnaires, body composition measurements, and a dopamine- resistant receptor polymorphism (DRD2 A1) among Asian Americans.


A total of 84 Asian American college students were recruited. Participants underwent body composition measurement via bioelectrical impedance, answered questionnaires (Food Craving Inventory and Power of Food Scale), and had blood drawn for genotyping (PCR).


There was no difference in body composition (BMI, percent body fat) between the A1 (A1A1 or A1A2) and A2 (A2A2) groups. There were statistically significant differences in food cravings of carbohydrates and fast food on the Food Craving Inventory between the A1 and A2 groups (p=0.03), but not for sugar or fat. Among Asian college females, there was also a difference on the Power of Food questionnaire (p=0.04), which was not seen among men. 13 out of 55 women also had >30% body fat at a BMI of 21.4 to 28.5 kg/m2.


Greater carbohydrate and fast food craving was associated with the DRD2 A1 versus A2 allele among Asian Americans. Further studies examining the ability of dopamine agonists to affect food craving and to reduce body fat in Asian American are warranted. More studies in food addiction among obese Asian Americans are needed with careful definition of obesity, specifically for Asian women.

PMID: 27222427

PMCID: PMC5022562