You are not to blame for your sweet tooth

Have you ever wondered why some people simply cannot resist sweet treats? Every once in a while we all reach for the sweet jar, however, some people crave sweet treats more often than others. This urge to eat sugary food is often seen as a personal weakness; however, a study titled The human sweet tooth suggests that you can, in fact, blame, the genes you receive from your mother and father for your so-called ‘sweet tooth.’

A gene coded TAS1R2 is responsible for how we perceive taste. “Different variants of the TAS1R2 gene allow us to taste sugary and sweet foods differently,” said Dr Danny Meyersfeld, CEO of DNAlysis Biotechnology. The variants of the gene allow us to perceive sweet foods differently which is why some people need more sugar than others to satisfy their sweet tooth.

In 2015 the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia conducted a study where they tested pairs of identical and fraternal twins as well as unpaired individuals, to find out how they perceived sweetness. Each person was given both natural and synthetic sugars to taste and rate the intensity. Researchers were able to determine how their genes differed in comparison to how they perceived the intensity of the sugar. The results of the study indicated that genetic factors account for about 30 per cent of the person-to-person variance in sweet taste perception.

Individuals with this gene variant and who perceive sweetness as low intensity may be inclined to reach for another piece of cake, simply because their system has not realised that they have eaten sugar. However, even though this can be explained ‘scientifically’ it is not a reason to binge on sweet treats this Easter. “Our genes provide a personalised guideline for what we should be eating and sugar is definitely a food that we should approach with caution,” said Dr Meyersfeld.

To find out if your sweet tooth stems from your genes, order your DNAlysis test by visiting www.dnalysis.co.za