Scientists may have found what may be responsible for your sweet tooth – your own brain cells. The research shows that certain brain cells control how much sugar you crave for and how much you consume.
The link between sugar consumption and chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes has been well established. A team of researchers, however, sought to explore how the body craves for and uses sugar to inform treatment and preventive recommendations against these diseases. The team focused on the role of a hormone called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), which plays a key role in how the body handles sugar.
The team had initially discovered that FGF21 is produced by the liver when blood sugar levels increase, and acts on a part of the brain to suppress craving and consumption of more sugar. In this study, the team sought to know which parts of the brain responds to the hormone. Using various techniques, the researchers found that this hormone targets nerve cells in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus to reduce sugar craving and intake.
Scientists are therefore using these findings to test new treatments for diabetes and obesity that focus on reducing intake of sugar.