Christine Chen

Science and Sweets: Why Some of Us Like Candy and Others Don’t

Christine Chen

With the holiday season upon us, many of us will indulge in sweet treats at the office and at home, unless you are someone who does not care much for sweets, a concept that may surprise some of us candy lovers!


It turns out our sweet tooth has to do with two genetic variants of a hormone known as FGF21. Published research from the University of Copenhagen showed that individuals with the genetic variants rs838133 and rs838145 were 20 percent more likely to eat sweets than individuals lacking these variants. These two genetic variations of the FGF21 hormone are amazingly specific to the craving of candies like lollipops, but do not seem to have any effect on the fattier sweets like cupcakes and other pastries.


A separate study asked participants whether they liked sweets or not, and found that those who did had 50 percent less FGF21 hormone in their blood, suggesting that the hormone regulates sugar cravings. In other words, having lower levels of FGF21 or having a mutated version will cause you to eat more sugar.


The good news is FGF21 levels do not necessarily correlate with weight gain, so don’t let that hold you back from enjoying some holiday treats this season!

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