Ground-breaking research at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine has identified sweet taste receptors in the gut - and they're the same as the ones found in the tongue. In other words, the small intestine tastes sugar in the same manner that the tongue tastes sugar.
The small intestine is where the body absorbs sugars in food. Knowing that the intestine can taste sweetness will help scientists better understand how our diet can regulate sugar absorption.
This discovery may also explain why artificial sweeteners may not help people lose weight. When the sweetness from natural or artificial food sources is detected, taste receptors in the gut signal the release of insulin. Insulin then triggers a lowering of blood sugar which can lead to feelings of hunger. It's thought that artificial sweeteners may cause hunger in the same way that a sugary treat do by spiking, then dropping, blood sugar levels.
The authors of this study hope this new research will prompt the development of new non-caloric sweeteners for people struggling with obesity or diabetes. Their findings were published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences.
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