The science behind your Sweet Tooth

The Sweet Tooth Science | Have you ever wondered why and how you still crave sugar after devouring an entire bag of sweets and chocolate? It seems that there’s a science behind all this, and the cravings you have are not abnormal. Recent studies have shown that a cell in the liver helps regulate the body’s sweets preferences.

FGF21 is specifically induced by mitochondrial 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase 2 (HMGCS2) activity.

A hormone in the liver sends your brain signals to either decrease or increase your sugar craving. Researchers found that when the body has high levels of this particular hormone, known as FGF21, it craves sugarless.

What role do genes play?

Research conducted by QIMR Berghofer Center and Monell showed that genetic dispositions could sometimes affect how much your body craves sugar as well. The study’s author, Danielle Reed, claims that having high sugar cravings doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re overindulgent. Danielle explains that just the way some people are born with specific hearing impairments and might need to blast the volume a bit to listen to the radio, folks who are born with weak levels of sweet taste might need to add that extra sugar for them to feel the same sweetness in their tea.

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This study revealed that genetics account for approximately 30% of an individual’s sweet taste perception variance.

Another exciting thing this study revealed is that, when it comes to evaluating sweetness levels, there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between sweetening from synthetic sweeteners (like aspartame) and natural sugars (like glucose and fructose).

So, is it all about the type of genes you have? Not everyone agrees with this belief—for instance, UCLA professor and M.D. Joseph Pinzone disagrees with the school of thought that genes solely determine how much of a sweet tooth you’ll have. He argued that when the body is exposed to a stimulus like food or drink, the body’s brain chemistry changes in some way. He said that when the body has positive links with sugary and sweet foodstuffs, like cake and candy, when it’s still young, its brain will grow to connect these things with both happiness and love.


All in all, genes play a significant role in determining whether one will have a sweet tooth. If your taste buds are prone to sweetness, then you’ll probably have a sweet tooth. This isn’t something that comes out of nowhere. Hopefully, this article has helped show you why.

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