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Trust your Gut When it Comes to Sugar Intake

The new study asks your gut to tell you the difference between natural Sugar Intake and an artificial sweetener; it may be right. The new study was published recently in Nature Neuroscience. Around the time the taste receptors were discovered 20 years ago, scientists tried to eliminate the taste buds in mice.They were surprised that the mice not only could tell the difference between natural and artificial, but they even preferred real over artificial sweeteners, despite having no sense of taste. The Scientists think they know why.

The study’s lead author said that they had identified the cells that make us eat Sugar, and they are in the gut.  Once eaten, food particles enter the small intestine, which is covered with velvety villi, where each villus is covered with a single layer of epithelium. Bohórquez discovered one of the cells in the epithelium layer is unique because it not only communicates with hormones but also with nerves, including the vagus nerve.

Although these cells were originally described as enteroendocrine cells because they released hormones in the gut, he called these neuropod cells, because of their ability to communicate with neurons that not only produce slow-acting hormone signals, but also fast-acting neurotransmitter signals to the brain within milliseconds.The researchers used lab-grown organoids, which are tissue cultures derived from stem cells, to mimic the upper and lower small intestine.

Then they conducted an experiment that showed natural Sugar stimulated the neuropod cells to release the neurotransmitter glutamate while artificial Sugar released a different neurotransmitter called ATP.The scientists then utilized a technology called optogenetics to deliver light through a flexible waveguide fiber through the gut of a living mouse to “turn off” the neuropod cells, discovering when the neuropod cells were “switched off,” the mouse no longer had a preference for real Sugar.

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