If you’re powerless in the face of that last piece of pie, or the tempting Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pint, there may be good news for you: Researchers may have discovered the cure for the common sweet tooth. Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found a hormone produced by the liver that suppresses sugar cravings.
The hormone is called fibroblast growth factor 21, or FGA21, and it is produced when the level of carbohydrates in our bodies is too high. At that point, the liver emits this hormone to signal to the brain to slow down the sweets-loading. Scientists have discovered that by isolating this hormone and testing it on mice, it works just as well. In fact, the mice that were injected with the hormone consumed seven times less sugar than their placebo counterparts.
If the hormone could be produced on a commercially viable level, it would significantly help obese and diabetic patients, researchers have concluded. The research team will also test if other hormones exist that regulate fat and protein cravings.
"This is the first liver-derived hormone we know that regulates sugar intake specifically," Matthew Potthoff, co-author of the paper published in the journal Cell Metabolism, said in a statement.