A Sweet Tooth in Your Intestine?


By: Linda von Wartburg

Taste buds have little receptors to sense the lovely taste of sugar,but now scientists have found that tasting sweets doesn't end withyour tongue.

In the small intestine, where dietary sugars are absorbed, moreof the same sugar receptors have just been discovered.

Glucose, the end product of carbohydrates, activates those sweetreceptors, causing the gut to taste the presence of sugar. The moresugar tasted in the gut by the receptors, the more glucose the gutabsorbs.

When the receptors are activated by glucose, they trigger thesecretion of GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). GLP-1 is anintestinal incretin hormone that promotes insulin secretion andregulates appetite. (For more on how incretins work, see "JANUVIA™ Approved in the European Union for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes".)

The study authors, reporting in the August 2007 Proceedings of theNational Academy of Sciences, also found that the gut sweetreceptors could taste artificial sweeteners just as if they werereal glucose, triggering a similar increase in dietary glucoseabsorption. The researchers believe that this finding could explainwhy people who use artificial sweeteners often fail to lose weight.

Source: EurekAlert; Innovations Report



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