Genetic Variation May Explain Preferences for Sugar

Finding could help research into soaring obesity, diabetes rates, study says

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FRIDAY, May 23, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- A new study says you might be able to blame your sweet tooth on your genes.

Having a specific variation in the GLUT2 gene -- which controls the entry of sugar into the cells -- may explain why some people crave sugary foods far more than others, according to the online edition of Physiological Genomics.

Researchers analyzing blood samples and food and beverage preferences of two distinct groups -- older adults who were either overweight or obese and generally healthy young adults who were mostly lean -- found that those with the GLUT2 variation in either group consumed more sugars than those without the variation.

"These findings may help explain some of the individual variations in people's preference for sugary foods. It's especially important given the soaring rates of obesity and diabetes throughout much of the world," study senior researcher Ahmed El-Sohemy, of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said in a prepared statement. "We have found that a variation in the GLUT2 gene is associated with a higher intake of sugars among different populations."

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more about sugar and sugar substitutes.

SOURCE: American Physiological Society, news release, May 14, 2008

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