If you have a sweet tooth, it won’t be found amongst your molars or canines. It’s inserted in your DNA instead.

Cake and cola and cookie lovers may well be able to blame their cravings on a common variant of a gene that controls the brain’s ability to sense sugars in the body, a new University of Toronto study suggests. About one in five people has the variant.

The gene may also have implications for a person’s risk of getting diabetes.


“In humans this gene functions as a glucose sensor in the brain to regulate appetite or food intake,” says U of T nutrition expert Ahmed El-Sohemy, the study’s principal author.

People with the variant of the gene GLUT 2 consistently ate more sweets and drank more high-calorie drinks than those with the more common form of it, the study published today in the journal Physiological Genomics found.

The GLUT 2 gene has long been known to be involved in breaking down sugars in the body.

The study began as a look at the gene’s pancreatic function and whether it determined how efficiently the body clears sugar from the bloodstream.

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