A Sweet Tooth Might Not Make You Fat


Norbert, you have a sweet tooth; I'll bet the desserts in your house know your name because the ones in my house call my name, I swear it! (laugh) It seems to get worse with age. My wife has to slap away my hand when I reach for second cookie. So, yeah, I am worried about weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and the whole gamut.

But I have good news; a recent study of four hundred fifty thousand people in the UK refutes some of the worries, so us sweet-tooth's can relax a bit. This large population-based study had people log their food intake in order to understand the consequences of their sugar intake. It expands on an earlier discovery of an allele, a gene variant, of a hormone that leads to sugar cravings and higher sugar intake. Even though the new study supports the role of this hormone in greater sugar consumption, it also dispels the avalanche of ill health effects we now associate with high sugar intake.

For example, people who have this allele have an overall lower body fat than those with the normal gene. People with this allele also are not at a greater risk for Type two diabetes. Maybe it's because the allele, while making someone crave sugar, make protein and fat less appealing. But it's not all good news with this allele.

Even though these folks have overall lower levels of body fat, what fat they do have is stored around the waist. They also had slightly higher blood pressure although not a higher risk of heart disease. Overall, the surprise is that a sweet tooth is not the doom we thought it was. Maybe mom was not completely right about sugar rotting your teeth and shortening your life.

More Information

Cell Reports
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Gene that makes humans eat more sugar can also lower body fat
You are what you eat, the old saying goes. But it turns out that may be backwards. What if, in fact, you eat certain things because of who you are? Scientists have known since 2013 that a common version of the gene FGF21 makes us consume more carbohydrates. Now, for the first time, a group of researchers is showing that, despite the effect it has on diet, this gene variant actually decreases fat in the body...

Sweet Tooth Gene Tied to Less Body Fat
A study of more than 450,000 people finds a certain genetic variant associated with eating more carbs is linked to a thicker waist and higher blood pressure, but less fat...