We all crave a tasty dessert (or 2, or 3, or a dozen) once in a while, but some people insist they can't help themselves.
For most of us, having a "sweet tooth" is just an excuse to help ourselves to another piece of rainbow sprinkles donut pie, but science tells us that some people really are born with an inclination for sugary food. You can even find out if you're one of the lucky few with an excuse to act like a kid in a candy shop.
Here in America, 51% of people self-describe as having a "sweet tooth," but the actual number with a genetic urge for sweets is unclear. A recent study asked a large group of twins to sample a set of sugary drinks. The test was checking whether the twins shared a love of sweet food, which would prove our genes make the difference.
In the end, researchers only found that genes played a difference in our love of sweet foods about 30% of the time. So why do we feel compelled to eat candy all day, or to have chocolate cake for breakfast? Simply because we grew up eating sweet foods.
As you grow up eating sugary foods you get used to their sweet taste. Plus, you associate the taste of desserts like birthday cake with fond memories. But science still says that some of us are hard-wired to love sugar from birth.
So how can you tell people with real sweet tooths apart from the rest?
The key to understanding the "sweet tooth" urge might be a hormone secreted by your liver when you gnosh on something sugary.
When you eat a tasty dessert, your liver will secrete a hormone called FGF21, which makes you crave even more sweets. Some people are naturally predisposed to secrete more of this hormone, which only makes you crave more sugar, and the cycle continues.
But there's another huge group of people who can't help craving sugar: kids. It's natural that children chase sweet foods because sugar provides lots of energy, which their growing bodies need to survive. The problem is nowadays we get lots of sugar from Twinkies and snack cakes, instead of fruits and veggies.
So if you're a victim of your cravings - and aren't we all - what can you do about it? Resisting temptation is hard, but not impossible. In a moment of crisis take things slow, and ask yourself "do I really need to eat this?"
When in doubt, we have some healthy snacks that are perfect for keeping your sweet tooth under control between meals. Just remember to have everything in moderation, but cut loose once in a while too!
Share this news if you have a serious sweet tooth!