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Do You Have the Sweet Tooth Hormone?


Liver Hormone Secretion Connected with Sweet Cravings

FGF21 may be to blame for those that cannot resist a chocolate bar or piece of candy. This hormone, secreted by the liver, has been researched by Novo Nordisk in Cell Metabolism to understand how the regulatory system from this perspective functions. Have you ever eaten dessert after being completely full but couldn’t say no? There may be more to this pathway about achieving satiety that makes us gravitate towards having more sweets versus putting them away.

Identified in 2015 in primates by the University of Iowa, researchers were unsure the reaction in humans. Low and behold, after collecting self-reported food intake and measured cholesterol and glucose levels, 20% of those with variations of the FGF21 hormone were found to be those sweet-toothed individuals. This was determined from 51 extreme sweet lovers and haters, whose blood sugar levels were measured after a fasting period and after drinking sugary water. With any metabolic study, there are many, many factors that may affect this result which is why more research is waiting to be done on a larger population for more complex analysis.

Many of us are quick to blame our sweet tooth for weight gain or view sweets as a bad food. However, as soon as we say something is ‘bad’ for you, you tend to want more of it. What FGF21 allows us to do next is better understand the role of the liver in controlling what we eat, and potentially how we can adjust our intake accordingly.

But in the meantime, sweets can be enjoyed, and by all means, should be enjoyed for the sake of mental health! Retraining our taste buds to appreciate the sweetness of fruit instead of a processed candy bar for dessert is the logical next step. Until we know more, we hope that you can find the balance in some of our favorite summer desserts such as the Berry Sorbet and Caribbean Cream Pops!

Published June 1, 2017

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