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Sweet Tooth Gene Linked With Less Body Fat

S u m m a r y :
Sweet tooth has a gene, and its gene is linked with less body fat, says a new study published in the journal Cell Reports.

Sweet Tooth Gene & Body Fat

All those with love for sugary foods, hear this out! Not only is sweet tooth determined by a gene but people bearing this genetic variation (FGF21) also tend to accumulate less body fat, says a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen. The genetic link was discovered only last year: this might be the reason behind the tendency of some people to have a special craving for sweet food items, which is why they consume more sugar than others. However, the new finding—that these people also have less body fat—appears to be counter-intuitive, because if they eat more sugar, shouldn’t they have more body fat?

“It sort of contradicts common intuition that people who eat more sugar should have less body fat. But it is important to remember that we are only studying this specific genetic variation and trying to find connections to the rest of the body. This is just a small piece of the puzzle describing the connection between diet and sugar intake and the risk of obesity and diabetes,” says study author Niels Grarup.

Downsides: High BP & More Hip Fat

On the other hand, sweet-tooth people also bear the associated downsides. Their genetic variation has been linked with two other characteristics: a slightly higher blood pressure, and more waist fat than hip fat, a fat distribution that accounts for the body shape commonly known as apple shape.

The study authors believe their findings to be accurate as they have analysed data obtained from over 450,000 participants.

“Now that so many people are involved in the study, it gives our conclusions a certain robustness. Even though the difference in the amount of body fat or blood pressure level is only minor depending on whether or not the person has this genetic variation or not, we are very confident that the results are accurate. Around 20 per cent of the European population has this genetic predisposition,” says Grarup.

Potential Drug For Diabetes

These findings have major implications for future research in drug development. Scientists are already conducting investigations to learn more about FGF21: their aim is to either target or replace it for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

“Due to its connection with sugar, FGF21 constitutes a potential target in the treatment of for example obesity and diabetes. This research helps us to understand the underlying mechanisms of the hormone and to predict its effects and side effects,” says Grarup.


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