It’s official folks. Our love of sweets and all things chocolate may not only be down to the fact that they taste and look great, it’s our genetics.

New research hot off the press has revealed that there’s a link between a variation of a particular hormone and a high intake of sweets.

If you have a strong and persistent desire for your favourite goodies it may be down to an overactive hormone called heptokine fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) – which some scientists believe regulates our consumption of sugar.

What on earth is FGF21?

OK, so FGF21 is a hormone the liver secretes after people chow down on their favourite sugary snacks and can potentially tell us who doesn’t have a sweet tooth and who does.

The study, published last month at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, claims that those with a particular variant of the hormone were 20% more likely to be prolific enjoyers of sweets like chocolate and ice cream than other participants of the research.

The data gathered within the Copenhagen study assessed the metabolic health of over 6,000 people and gave a unique insight into the potential hormonal foundation of those with the infamous “sweet tooth”.

Why was there a study done about it?

The research brings to light new and interesting views on the role of our liver and its potential control over the things we like to eat or crave. Once food passes via the intestine and the stomach the liver is next in line – and the hormones it secretes could well play a huge role in what we enjoy best.

This is the first time that FGF21 has been a hormone of interest. In 2015, the University of Iowa in the United States took a look at the intake of sugary foods among rodents. It revealed that the hormone can suppress the need for sugar based products and now it seems it can play a major role in humans too.

What happens next and why does it matter?

Researchers have said they want to get the full picture of the role that this hormone plays and how it can affect our behaviour.

A wider project like this could help us better understand FGF21 and what other variants are out there. If we all understand the hormone better, medical professionals may well be able to use this information to combat metabolic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and in our world of dentistry, tooth decay.

This article was brought to you by Ewan Bramley Dental Care, a leading private dentist in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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