Dietary starch intake modifies the relation between copy number variation in the salivary amylase gene and BMI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Studies have shown conflicting associations between the salivary amylase gene (AMY1) copy number and obesity. Salivary amylase initiates starch digestion in the oral cavity; starch is a major source of energy in the diet. Objective: We investigated the association between AMY1 copy number and obesity traits, and the effect of the interaction between AMY1 copy number and starch intake on these obesity traits. Design: We first assessed the association between AMY1 copy number (genotyped by digital droplet polymerase chain reaction) and obesity traits in 4800 individuals without diabetes (mean age: 57 y; 60% female) from the Malmö Diet and Cancer Cohort. Then we analyzed interactions between AMY1 copy number and energyadjusted starch intake (obtained by a modified diet history method) on body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage. Results: AMY1 copy number was not associated with BMI (P = 0.80) or body fat percentage (P = 0.38). We observed a significant effect of the interaction between AMY1 copy number and starch intake on BMI (P-interaction = 0.007) and body fat percentage (P-interaction = 0.03). Upon stratification by dietary starch intake, BMI tended to decrease with increasing AMY1 copy numbers in the low-starch intake group (P = 0.07) and tended to increase with increasing AMY1 copy numbers in the high-starch intake group (P = 0.08). The lowest mean BMI was observed in the group of participants with a low AMY1 copy number and a high dietary intake of starch. Conclusions: Our findings suggest an effect of the interaction between starch intake and AMY1 copy number on obesity. Individuals with high starch intake but low genetic capacity to digest starch had the lowest BMI, potentially because larger amounts of undigested starch are transported through the gastrointestinal tract, contributing to fewer calories extracted from ingested starch. Am J Clin Nutr 2017;106:256-62.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Cohort, Copy number variation, Gene-diet interaction, Obesity, Salivary amylase, Starch
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-262
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch