Navigation Links
Genetic variation linked to sugary food

Bethesda, MDA new study released today in the online edition of Physiological Genomics finds that individuals with a specific genetic variation consistently consume more sugary foods. The study offers the first evidence of the role that a variation in the GLUT2 gene a gene that controls sugar entry into the cells has on sugar intake, and may help explain individual preferences for foods high in sugar.

The study was conducted by Ahmed El-Sohemy, Karen M. Eny, Thomas M.S. Wolever and Benedicte Fontaine-Bisson, all of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Their study, entitled Genetic Variant in the Glucose Transporter Type 2 (GLUT 2) is Associated with Higher Intakes of Sugars in Two Distinct Populations, appears in the May 2008 edition of Physiological Genomics (

Summary of the Study

Food preferences are influenced by the environment as well as genetics. Cravings for foods high in sugar vary from person to person, but the reasons why are still unclear. To better understand the mechanism, the research team examined the effect of a common variation in a gene that controls the entry of sugar (glucose) into cells. The gene is called glucose transporter type 2 or GLUT2.

The researchers tested the effects of the genetic variation in two distinct populations. One population consisted of older adults who were all either overweight or obese. The other population consisted of generally healthy young adults who were mostly lean.

The diet of the participants in the first population was assessed by recording all of the foods and beverages consumed over a three day period, and repeating this 3-day food record two weeks later to ensure that the effect was reproducible. All participants were interviewed face-to-face during the two visits to the research centers. For the second population, the study participants used a questionnaire that asked about the foods and beverages typically consumed during a one month period.

Blood was drawn from each participant, and their DNA extracted. The researchers examined the genotype distribution and compared the food intake data each participant provided between individuals with the variation and those without the variation in GLUT2. The DNA samples that carried the variation in GLUT2 were associated with consuming more sugars in both populations studied.


The results of the study showed that a genetic variation of GLUT2 is associated with differences in the habitual consumption of sugars both within and between two distinct populations. Specifically:

  • those individuals with the GLUT2 variation consistently consumed more sugars (sucrose (table sugar)), fructose (simple sugar such as corn syrup) and glucose (carbohydrates), regardless of age or sex.

  • the two sets of food records from the older group showed that the older individuals with the variation consumed more sugars than their non-variant older counterparts (112 9 vs. 864 grams of sugar per day and 1118 vs. 82 4 grams per day).

  • the individuals in the younger population who carried the variant were found to consume more sweetened beverages (0.490.05 vs. 0.340.02 servings per day) and more sweets (1.450.10 vs. 1.080.05 servings per day) than their non-variant counterparts.

  • there were no differences in the amount of protein, fat, starch or alcohol that was consumed by those either with or without the variant.


According to Dr. El-Sohemy, the studys senior researcher, We have found that a variation in the GLUT2 gene is associated with a higher intake of sugars among different populations. These findings may help explain some of the individual variations in peoples preference for sugary foods. Its especially important given the soaring rates of obesity and diabetes throughout much of the world.


Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

Related biology news :

1. Scientists dig deeper into the genetics of schizophrenia by evaluating microRNAs
2. Genetic tag team keeps cells on cycle
3. The cooperative view: New evidence suggests a symbiogenetic origin for the centrosome
4. Second genetic link to weight and obesity
5. Genetic breakthrough explains dangerously high blood glucose levels
6. Epigenetic research uncovers new targets for modification enzymes
7. Mapping the genetic locus for triglycerides
8. Genetic sequencing of protein from T. rex bone confirms dinosaurs link to birds
9. American College of Medical Genetics makes genetic testing recommendations in new policy statement
10. Scientists clarify a mechanism of epigenetic inheritance
11. Genetic variant mimics effect of heart failure medications
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015  In this ... the basis of product, type, application, disease ... in this report are consumables, services, software. ... are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation ... report are diagnostics development, drug discovery and ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today announced broader entry into the automotive market with ... match the pace of consumer electronics human interface innovation. ... are ideal for the automotive industry and will be ... Europe , Japan ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Oct. 29, 2015   ... that supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is ... the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of ... in the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The ... and individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... Accutest Research Laboratories, a leading independent ... (CRO), has formed a strategic partnership ... Temple Health for joint work on ... ) , --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE ... has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in ... operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of the ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could ... change" as defined in Section 382 of the Code. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Mass. , Nov. 25, 2015 Harvard ... biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening conditions, ... present at the LD Micro "Main Event" investor conference ... The presentation will be webcast live and posted for ... be available at the conference for one-on-one meetings on ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing partnership between the ... has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. , AMA ... Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at AMA ...
Breaking Biology Technology: