People newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may be less responsive to the taste of glucose, according to a short report in the July 1996 issue of Diabetes Care. This could cause cravings for sweeter food and drinks, worsening hyperglycemia.
Researchers at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland tested taste thresholds for 20 newly diagnosed untreated type 2 patients, 20 matched non-diabetic control subjects, and 11 people who have had diabetes for over 10 years (five type I and six type 2). Thresholds were determined by having people drink varying solutions of glucose and water, fructose and water, salt and water, and urea and water. The subjects indicated when they first could tell a solution was more than just water, and when they could describe an actual taste. The newly diagnosed type 2 group was re-tested three to five months later, after treatment for diabetes had begun.
The tests revealed that the newly diagnosed type 2 group could not taste glucose as readily as the other groups. After treatment, however, their glucose taste threshold was back to normal.
The researchers could not speculate as to why taste for glucose was diminished among the new type 2 patients, but concluded it might result in a desire for sweeter nourishment-causing increased hyperglycemia for new and non-diagnosed type 2 patients.