JUN 15, 2018 4:41 AM PDT

Is my sweet tooth genetic?

I can’t be the only one with a sometimes-uncontrollable sweet tooth. But what’s the deal – why do I like sweets so much?

“Certainly environmental factors can influence the types of foods that we like and dislike, but what this like of research demonstrates is that there’s also a biological and genetic basis for some of our likes and dislikes of foods,” explained Dr. Ahmed Alsehemi, who studies this field.

After analyzing blood samples from two large groups of volunteers who consistently tracked their diets in an experiment, Dr. Alsehemi and fellow researchers determined that those with a gene called GLUT2 consumed more sugar on a daily basis that those without the gene. This gene works in the pancreas in order to clean sugar from the blood; it also works in the brain. Dr. Alsehemi suggests that perhaps the people with the GLUT2 gene have an impaired ability to detect changes in blood sugar levels, which in turn impedes the brain from sending out signals to stop eating. This discovery could lead to diets that are tailored to your specific genetics.

So what do you think – do you have the GLUT2 gene?

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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