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Women with a sweet tooth are ‘better able to tell when they feel full’

Women with a sweet tooth are ‘more in tune with their bodies’ and better able to tell when they feel full, study finds

  • New study suggests sweet fans can better detect the internal state of their body
  • Sweet lovers were also ‘more mindful and intuitive eaters’ than ‘sweet dislikers’ 
  • The study may help create new nutrition strategies to help people lose weight 

Women who like sweets are more in tune with their bodies and better able to tell when they feel full, a new study suggests.

Psychologists from the University of Sussex performed a series of tests on 64 women, who were either ‘sweet likers’ or ‘sweet dislikers’.

The team found the sweet likers had enhanced ‘interoceptive’ abilities – in other words, they better perceived the internal state of their body – and were the ‘more mindful and intuitive eaters’. 

The study goes against a stereotype that people who love sweet foods like candy, chocolate and cake can’t stop eating them even when they’re full.  

Do you have a sweet tooth? The study suggests you can better detect the internal state of your body – including whether or not you’re full

‘This study is interesting because it runs contrary to what many people might think,’ said Dr Vasiliki Iatridi, lead author on the paper, at the University of Sussex.

‘If you’re partial to very sugary food, it doesn’t mean that you’re at the whim of your cravings. 

‘It might mean the opposite – that you’re less likely to cave in to the call of the candy jar in the absence of hunger.’ 


Having a sweet tooth could lead to heart disease and an early death, a study has suggested.

University of Oxford scientists tracked 116,000 people’s eating habits for up to 15 years and checked whether they had been admitted to hospital or died.

They found people who regularly indulged in chocolate bars and sugary drinks were more likely to put on weight and suffer from heart disease in mid life than people who abstained from them.

Read more: Having a sweet tooth could lead to an early death, study finds 

The 64 participants in the study were categorised as sweet likers or sweet dislikers after being asked to taste and rate sugar solutions of varying intensities.

Firstly, to determine their cardiac interoception, participants were first fitted with heartbeat trackers. 

Sweet-likers were found to be better able to sense their own heartbeats, without actually measuring their own pulses, than sweet dislikers, the team found.

After this, participants conducted the two-step water load test – involving the ingestion of non-caloric water.

During the first step, water ingestion was required until the point of perceived satiation, which was ‘the comfortable sensation you perceive when you have eaten a meal and you have eaten enough, but not too much’. 

Participants were then asked to continue ingesting water until fullness – the ‘sensation of stomach being entirely filled with water’ – was reached.

Gastric interoception was defined as the volume needed for satiation expressed as a percentage of total stomach capacity.  

Researchers found that sweet-likers were more able to tell when they were full – in other words, they had better gastric interoceptive abilities.

Sweet likers also scored higher on mindful and intuitive eating scales, meaning they were less likely to be affected by edible temptations.

‘Our study shows that people who like sweet foods are able to detect the physical sensations which signal when they’re full up,’ said study author Professor Martin Yeomans at University of Sussex. 

‘Surprisingly it is those who don’t like sweet tastes who may be less able to self-regulate their eating.  

‘What we still don’t know is what makes someone a sweet-liker or disliker, and that is what we are now looking into.’ 

Researchers believe their paper could open up new personalised nutrition strategies in helping people lose weight.

‘Measurement of individual variation in sweet-liking may prove useful to identify those predisposed to poorer interoceptive abilities and, hence, to food choices beyond internal needs and ultimately unhealthy body weights,’ they say.  

This study, published in the journal Appetite, only looked at female participants but it is hoped that further studies include men. 


In 2018, scientists reported the gene that causes people to crave sugary treats (pictured) also lowers body fat

In 2018, scientists reported the gene that causes people to crave sugary treats (pictured) also lowers body fat

Having a sweet tooth can often be considered a heath curse, but it may not be as bad for your health as you think, 2018 research suggests.

Scientists at Exeter University found the gene that causes people to crave sugary treats, FGF21, also lowers body fat.  

They claimed the findings, published in Cell Reports, went against the perception that eating sugar is bad for health.

The researchers used blood, urine and saliva samples from 450,000 people who were part of the UK Biobank.

Professor Timothy Frayling, who led the study, said: ‘We were surprised the version of the gene associated with eating more sugar is associated with lower body fat.

‘This goes against the current perception that eating sugar is bad for health. It may reduce body fat.’

Scientists have known since 2013 that a version of the gene FGF21 makes people consume more carbohydrates.

But this was often assumed to trigger people to pile on weight as they consumed more calories than their counterparts without the gene.

Professor Frayling, a molecular geneticist, did warn that the FGF21 gene also ‘redistributes fat to the upper body’.