CBS Local — A new study has found that people with a specific gene that makes them crave sugary treats actually have less body fat than others.
According to scientists at the University of Copenhagen, a variation of the gene FGF21 is responsible for both alcohol and sugar cravings. After testing more than 450,000 individuals in Europe, the researchers were surprised to find that people with the “genetic sweet tooth” were at lower risk for both obesity and diabetes.
“This goes against the current perception that eating sugar is bad for health,” the study’s co-author Timothy Frayling said, via The Scientist. Researchers say about 20 percent of the population in Europe have the sugar craving gene.
The results weren’t all positive however, as people with the FGF21 variation were found to have slightly higher blood pressure. The sweet tooth gene also contributed to more fat being retained around a person’s waist instead of their hips; giving them an “apple shape.”
Researchers added that they’re looking at the hormone the gene produces as a possible treatment for several conditions in people without a genetic sweet tooth. “Due to its connection with sugar, FGF21 constitutes a potential target in the treatment of for example obesity and diabetes,” co-author Niels Grarup said in a press release.
[H/T CBS Philly]