Why Your Taste Cells Love Sugar so Much

A new study dramatically increases knowledge of how taste cells detect sugars. This could be a pivotal step in developing strategies to limit overconsumption.

It turns out that taste cells have several additional sugar detectors, over and above the previously known "sweet taste" receptor. Although this receptor, known as the T1r2+T1r3 receptor, is the primary mechanism that allows taste cells to detect many sweet compounds, it cannot explain some aspects of sweet taste. Investigation found that several sugar sensors previously thought only to be found in the intestine and pancreas also are present in sweet-sensing taste cells.

According to Newswise:

"The different sugar taste sensors may have varied roles. An intestinal glucose sensor also found to be located in the sweet-sensitive taste cells may provide an explanation for another mystery of sweet taste: why just a pinch of table salt tastes sweet or salt added to baked goods enhances sweet taste. Known as SGLT1, this sensor is a transporter that moves glucose into the sweet taste cell when sodium is present, thus triggering the cell to register sweetness."

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