Glutton for Sugar? Genes Get Heap of Blame
Sugary Diets Linked to Variation in GLUT2 Gene
WebMD News Archive
May 14, 2008 -- Scientists may have found a genetic reason why some people
eat more sugar than others.
The key may be a certain variation in the GLUT2 gene, according to
researchers including graduate student Karen Eny and associate professor Ahmed
El-Sohemy, PhD, of the University of Toronto's nutritional sciences
They found that adults with that GLUT2 gene variant reported greater sugar
consumption than those with a different variant.
Data came from 100 Canadian adults with type 2 diabetes who weren't taking
diabetes drugs and 587 Canadian adults without diabetes. Participants completed
dietary surveys and provided blood samples for DNA tests.
The GLUT2 gene variant linked to sugar intake wasn't tied to fat, protein,
or alcohol consumption. Those findings held for adults with and without
diabetes, regardless of age.
The researchers explain that the GLUT2 gene may help the body sense blood
sugar (glucose) levels, and the variant may hamper that process,
short-circuiting one of the body's cues to stop eating.
But that doesn't mean that the GLUT2 gene variant drives people to binge on
sugar -- or that everyone with a sweet tooth can blame the GLUT2 gene.
Observational studies like this one don't prove cause and effect.
Still, the researchers argue that the GLUT2 gene deserves further study for
its possible effects on food preferences and disorders affecting food
The findings appear in the May 13 edition of Physiological
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