Have a sweet tooth that always gets its way? Find it impossible to resist a delectable spread of sprinkled and glazed doughnuts or a generous scoop of ice cream in a freshly baked waffle cone? If you're particularly incapable of overcoming your cravings for a sugar rush, your self-control might be to blame—but so might your genes.
Yep, Mom and Dad may have passed down a particular gene variant that makes you predisposed to craving sweets. As Scientific American recently highlighted, a study published in Cell Metabolism and led by an international team of researchers found that individuals with one of two particular variants of the FGF21 gene were about 20% likelier to seek out sugary substances. The gene is responsible for providing instructions to make a hormone associated with food regulation, and it's believed it also might modulate appetite.
"This study gives us insight into the molecular basis of the sweet tooth—that's probably the heart of it for me: Why do you have a sweet tooth at a biological level?" asks Matthew Gillum, co–lead author and metabolism researcher at the University of Copenhagen. While this study was mostly observational, analyzing the reported eating habits of 6500 Danish individuals whose genetic makeup was taken into consideration, further research could investigate the neural pathways at work that explain this relationship or how sweet tooth tendencies tie into other genetic predispositions like addiction.
Now discover the number one way to kill sugar cravings, according to a celebrity nutritionist.