Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The unique challenges of studying the genetics of diet and nutrition

Your institute does not have access to this article

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Main methodological considerations of MR studies when implemented for nutritional exposures.


  1. Lawlor, D. A. et al. Stat. Med. 27, 1133 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Hernán, M. A. & Robins, J. M. Causal Inference: What If? (CRC Press, 2021).

  3. Merino, J. et al. Nat. Hum. Behav. (in the press).

  4. Ibsen, D. et al. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 113, 294 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Millwood, I. Y. et al. Lancet 393, 1831 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Releases (SAMHSA, 2019);

  7. Rosoff, D. B. et al. PLoS Med. 17, e1003410 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank S. Swanson (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and J. Speakman (University of Aberdeen) for their thoughtful contributions to earlier versions of the manuscript. Funding was received from National Institutes of Health grant P30DK40561 (J.M.) and American Diabetes Association grant no. 7-21-JDFM-005 (J.M.).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



J.M. and D.K.T. contributed to the original draft and editing of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Deirdre K. Tobias.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Merino, J., Tobias, D.K. The unique challenges of studying the genetics of diet and nutrition. Nat Med 28, 221–222 (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing