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People with a 'genetic sweet tooth' have less body fat

by , 16 April 2018
People with a 'genetic sweet tooth' have less body fat
You'd think that people who have regular sweet cravings are more likely to pack on the kilos than those who don't right? Well, according to European researchers, this isn't the case.

In a new study published in the scientific journal Cell Reports, researchers found that people with a gene variation that causes them to crave sweets have a predisposition to less body fat, not more.

These findings are surprising, since most people with this particular gene eat more sugar than others. Read on for more.

New study links sweet tooth gene to less body fat

To reach their findings, the researchers looked at health information from more than 450,000 people who allowed their data to be recorded in the UK Biobank. The information includes genetic data, blood samples and questionnaires on diet.
The researchers found that people with the FGF21 gene – a variation that causes them to crave sweets – have a predisposition to less body fat instead of more. “It sort of contradicts common intuition,” said Niels Grarup, associate professor from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.

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“But it’s important to remember that we’re only studying this specific genetic variation and trying to find connections to the rest of the body,” Grarup continued. “This is just a small piece of the puzzle describing the connection between diet and sugar intake and the risk of obesity and diabetes.”
According to Grarup, the importance of the new finding about people with the sweet tooth gene primarily applies to research and the creation of drugs to combat obesity and diabetes. He says about 20% of the European population have this specific genetic variation.

However, the sweet tooth gene is also associated with some health issues…

Sadly, the effects associated with the FGF21 gene aren’t all positive. It’s also linked to a slight elevation in blood pressure as well as more fat around the belly than the hips, contributing to a more apple-shaped body.
Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that even though the sweet tooth gene may not add kilos, hundreds of studies have shown that consuming too much sugar is bad for your health.

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