Science sells a sweet deal to sober up on sugar

Researchers have identified a hormone that can suppress sugar and alcohol cravings in mice.

According to a study recently published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the hormone can send a signal to the brain to reduce the appetite for sugar.

Scientists tested the theory by injecting the hormone into mice then giving them a choice between a balanced diet and a sugar-enriched diet.

By genetically modifying the two sets of mice, distinct differences were observed between a group that did not produce FGF21 and those that had over 500 times the normal levels of the hormone.

According to report co-senior author Dr Steven Kliewer, “The findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviours in humans.”

Results were also consistent when applied to alcohol-laced water, indicating that the hormone could be used to treat alcoholism.

“These findings suggest that additional studies are warranted to assess the effects of FGF21 on sweet and alcohol preference and other reward behaviour in humans,” Kliewer said.

Whilst the hormone does not supress the craving for complex carbohydrates such as cake or pastries, it could assist diabetics and obese people with controlling their sugar levels.