- A research team from The
University of Copenhagen has shown that the level of FGF21 is associated
with the amount of sugar consumed.
- Certain variants of the gene FGF21 are found to lead to an increase
in production of the FGF21 hormone.
- People with certain variants of gene FGF21 were 20% more
likely to eat sugar rich foods like ice creams and chocolates.
people tend to crave sweets and chocolates while others may not be as likely to
prefer sweets. A study conducted by a research team from The University of Copenhagen's
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for
Basic Metabolic Research found that a hormone called FGF21
was secreted by the
liver after the consumption of sweets, and that this could be used to determine
who loved sweets and who didn't.
study was published in the journal Cell
and it showed that people with certain variations of the FGF21 gene
were about 20% more likely
to be high sweet and
candy consumers, which included gum drops, chocolates and ice cream.
‘FGF21 hormone is associated with satiety or feeling of fullness on eating sugar. The more the level of FGF21 hormone, the lower the craving for sugar.’
study leader, Dr. Matthew Gillum , who is an assistant professor of biological
sciences said that data was obtained after assessing 6,500 Danish
subjects and was useful in identifying the hormonal
basis of a sweet tooth.
Role of Liver in Food Intake
The study played an important role in
understanding the influence of the liver in regulating the food that is eaten.
Nutrients from the food pass into the liver after they pass through the stomach
and the intestine. The study found that
- The liver could
be regulating the intake of candy/sweet food.
- There could be a
probable association between the hormones secreted in the liver and the
regulation of the food consumed.
Dr. Gillum stated that the liver could be
a regulatory system that could control the different nutrient systems. Previous
studies showed that
- FGF21 hormone
secreted in the liver was associated with the regulation of sweet intake
- In another study
conducted on primates, the hormone was found to suppress sweet tooth
Gillum and colleagues wanted to determine if the association between a sweet
tooth and the levels of the FGF21 hormone were only among rodents or if they
were also present in humans.
FGF21 Hormone in Humans
research team used data from a study called Inter99
which utilized self-reported dietary intake along with
measurements of serum cholesterol and glucose from participants. The FGF21 gene
of the study participants was sequenced to identify the gene polymorphism; 2
variants of the gene that were linked to carbohydrate intake in previous
studies were focused on.
study found that
Association of FGF21 Hormone and Sweet Intake
- Individuals who
had one of the two variants were found to be more likely to eat sweets and
- There was a
strong association between these gene variants and intake of sweets.
- there was also an
association between these 2 gene variants and alcohol intake and smoking,
though further studies are required.
- There was no
association between type 2 diabetes and obesity.
clinical study was set up by Dr. Gillum and colleagues to identify how the
hormone levels regulate sweet intake. 51 people from the study who strongly
liked or strongly disliked sweets were included in the study.
- The FGF21 levels
were measured during a 12 hour fast
- The levels of the
hormone were measured over a period of 5 hours after the participants
consumed sugary drinks that equaled 2 cans of coke
study found that
- The level of
hormone FGF21 was 50% higher
among people who disliked sweets when compared to people who did.
- After the sugary
drinks were consumed, the level of FGF21 hormones were found to be the
same in both the groups.
study provided insights into the probable association between sweet intake and
the level of the FGF21 hormone. The scientists involved in the study will be
carrying out a larger study to fully understand the effect of this gene on
Sugar Intake in India
is believed to be discovered by Indians and its consumption is a part of the
Indian culinary practices. From sweets to drinks to even curries, most dishes
have a dash of sugar. India is the second largest producer and consumer of
sugar in the world. The high intake of
sugar has led to a host of conditions like obesity
type 2 diabetes
. Considering the high pre-disposition for
diabetes and obesity in India, it is important to lower consumption of sugar to
less than 10%
of the daily energy
identification of FGF21
regulating sugar intake could play an important role in treating people with a
- Sugar Intake, Obesity, and Diabetes in India - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277009/)