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Our guts may sense sugar and low-calorie sweeteners differently


Scientist

Our guts may sense sugar and low-calorie sweeteners differently

By Jessica Hamzelou The gut can distinguish sugar from low-calorie alternativesAntonio Guillem/Getty ImagesCan you taste the difference between a calorie-laden sugar and a zero-calorie sweetener? Specialised cells in your gut can, according to experiments in mice. These cells tell the brain whether a sugar or sweetener has been ingested within milliseconds. Research in the 1950s…

Our guts may sense sugar and low-calorie sweeteners differently

By Jessica Hamzelou

woman holding sugar cubes and saccharin pills

The gut can distinguish sugar from low-calorie alternatives

Antonio Guillem/Getty Images

Can you taste the difference between a calorie-laden sugar and a zero-calorie sweetener? Specialised cells in your gut can, according to experiments in mice. These cells tell the brain whether a sugar or sweetener has been ingested within milliseconds.

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Research in the 1950s revealed that food doesn’t need to pass through the mouth to stimulate a response from the brain. Mice respond to food rewards when they are put directly into their stomachs, too. More recent studies have found that mice favour sweet foods even when their taste …

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