Sweet Tooth

After discussing the transformation of sugar from a mask for medicine to a staple within the working class, I thought about sugar as a taste compared to other tastes such as salty, savory, or bitter. Unfortunately, I am a victim of a very large sweet tooth and often blame my father’s genetics for this. My mom and brother seem to have an aversion to sugary snacks and desserts while my dad and I can’t stay away and have no self control when it comes to the delicious treats. A study in 2007 tested the relationship between genetics and having a sweet tooth by giving both identical and fraternal twins sugar water after an overnight fast and asking them to rate the drink on a scale from “the greatest imaginable dislike” to “the greatest imaginable like.” The study concluded that identical twins were more likely to rate the drinks the same compared to fraternal twins, suggesting that genes account for ¬†half the variation in how much that participants enjoyed the drink. However, much to my dismay, I cannot fully blame my genes for my sweet tooth.

The data in this image provides evidence for the idea that sweetness is a preferred taste in American versus the rest of the world.

The data in this image provides evidence for the idea that sweetness is a preferred taste in American versus the rest of the world.

Thinking about the influence of genetics on a person’s taste preferences, location may also play a role in why certain people or groups of people like certain tastes. Mintz’s article about sugar and sweetness focuses within Europe and America. It would be worthwhile to explore whether or not sugar, along with other spices or tastes, had the same or similar impact on other parts of the world. Investigating this idea might shed light onto how genetics plays a role on people’s taste preferences.