Do you find yourself craving sugar and sweet foods all the time? If you cannot manage to end your meal without dessert at the end, it’s time to take it up with your genes!
How Do We Perceive Taste
Whenever food touches our tongues, the taste buds send signals to the taste center of the brain that helps detect the taste. Whether or not your like or prefer the taste is controlled by another area in the brain.
Each taste bud has a protein on the tip called the taste receptor. Five different kinds of taste receptors get activated upon encountering any one of the 5 basic tastes: sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and savory.
Upon activation, the taste receptors get activated, and the nerves in the tongue pick up this signal which travels through the back of your mouth and up a tiny hole in your skull into your brain.
Image: Distribution of taste receptors
Genetics Behind Sweet Taste Preference
The number and expression of sweet taste receptors on your tongue are regulated by certain genes, including TAS1R2 and TAS1R3.
People with certain changes in these genes may have lower expression of the sweet taste receptors and may consume more sweets to enjoy the full benefits of sweet taste.
On the other hand, if you have a higher expression of the sweet taste receptors, you are likely to be more sensitive to the sweet taste and hence consume less sweet foods.
Did You Know
What makes us crave sugar? As soon as the brain receives signals from the sweet receptors, the reward system is activated, which is communicated through the release of dopamine, popularly known as the “happy hormone.” This feeling of pleasure we experience is what makes us go after sugary foods.
Explore Your DNA Raw Data
Curious about your sweet tooth genes? Here’s how you can learn about it in 3 simple steps: