Kathryn Lindsay
December 27, 2015 8:32 am

Eating well can be pretty hard, especially during the holiday season when you’re surrounded by such delicious food. As you stand in the kitchen staring at the cookies and cakes and sweet drinks, you’re full from the delicious holiday feast you just enjoyed, but something in your body just can’t stop, won’t stop craving these sweet treats. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just turn those cravings off?

Science is one step closer. Scientists found a hormone in the liver that’s connected to the brain, specifically the part in charge of those delicious peppermint-chocolate cravings that sneak up on you in the middle of the night. It’s called FGF21 and by manipulating the hormone in mice, scientists found they were able to increase and decrease cravings for sugary water. A higher level of the hormone corresponded with fewer cravings.

What’s amazing about this hormone is that it doesn’t just affect our sweet tooth. “Our findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviors in humans, and that the hormone could potentially be used to treat alcoholism,” co-senior author Dr. Steven Kliewer explained. Their results were consistent in mice when applied to alcohol-laced water as well.

While this doesn’t mean we’ve found a cure for alcoholism and late-night snacking, it does mean we’re on the right path. “These findings suggest that additional studies are warranted to assess the effects of FGF21 on sweet and alcohol preference and other reward behavior in humans,” Kliewer continued.

We hope these studies happen fast, because there are still a lot of leftover cookies in our kitchens.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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