Your Sweet Tooth May be Genetic


There’s no question that humans love sweet foods and drinks. But some people have a stronger sweet tooth than others, regardless of whether they consume excessively processed sweet foods and drinks, or consume healthier and more natural forms of sugars such as fruits and honey.

According to new research presented at the recent International Sweeteners Association conference held in Brussels, as much as 50 percent of our preference for sweet foods (and drinks) may come from our genes rather than being a learned trait influenced by or environment (even though that does play a significant role in eating and health habits). So, yes, you may actually, biologically, really love sugar. But that doesn’t mean that your genetic sweet tooth gives you reason to indulge.

Lead researcher, professor Hely Tuorila, told Food Navigator that while it may be more difficult for some people to curb their sugar cravings, it’s not impossible to create new habits. “We can live without sweetness,” Tuorila told Food Navigator. “But it may be difficult because of its biological, psychological and social role in our lives.”

The research team Tuorila is a part of has written four research papers on the issue so far. This latest research looked at identical twins and their preferences towards sweet and salty foods. The team still does not know specifically which genes are responsible for giving us our sweet tooth, but Tuorila notes, that doesn’t matter as much as learning how to manage cravings without the calories.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Image: Mr. TinDc