Makar Sankranti, sweets

Indulging in sweet, sugary foods is considered one of the cardinal sins for someone trying to watch their weight – something that automatically turns having a sweet tooth, a curse. But a recent study suggests that those with a sweet tooth might actually be blessed with the gene that lowers body fat.

How convenient!

Researchers at the Exeter University, England, revealed the surprising and unexpected discovery that contrary to popular belief, eating sugar is not all that bad for health, especially for those trying to lose weight as the gene responsible for it, doubles as a body fat reducing agent.

The specific gene is known as FGF21 and a version of it makes people consume more carbohydrates, as has been established since 2013. This was also assumed to trigger people into consuming more calories than those without the gene.

Professor Timothy Frayling, the molecular geneticist 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."

He explained that this happens 'because the same allele (a variant of the gene) also results in a lower consumption of protein and fat in the diet'. At the same time, the FGF21 gene also 'redistributes fat to the upper body'.

But of course, no matter how intense the sweet-tooth cravings can get, it does not mean that you start loading up on the sugary-sweet stuff in the hopes of getting slimmer. Fortunately, there are several healthier alternatives to satisfy them.

Writing for Greatist, Kate Morin suggested the best sweet-tooth friendly recipes that are healthy and actually don't make one compromise in their diet. Let's round up the best 5!

1. Fresh fruit

This is probably the simplest solution to your post-meal sweet-tooth cravings. A piece of sweet fruit is naturally the healthier choice you can make, in terms of stacking up on all those nutrients and fiber.

2. Yogurt parfait

A cup of Greek yogurt with toppings of your choice and voila! Try to restrict your choices within the items like crushed crackers or granola, nuts, and fruits.

3. Baked apple

All you need to do is stuff the apple with oats, nuts or even a little bit of honey for added sweetness. Roast it in the oven and you're good to go any time of the day.

4. Fruit and cottage cheese

Nutritious and sweet – it doesn't get any better than this. Cottage cheese provides protein, so top it off with some honey or cocoa powder and it's ready.

5. Cinnamon toast

It honestly doesn't get easier than this. Toast a slice of whole grain bread and spread half a teaspoon of low-fat butter or any of its substitute and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Yes, as much as you want!