Why we can't resist sweets

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scientists in Philadelphia have broken the code for chocoholics - why can't ya leave that stuff alone?

Easter is for rejoicing.

It's also a time when the appetite for sweet treats can go into overdrive.

Dr. Robert Margolskee, of the Monell Chemicals Senses Center in Philadelphia says, "If you put something sweet in your mouth - the sweet-responding part of the brain gets very excited and says - oh, that's sweet. Give me more."

With obesity on the rise, that's coaxing we don't need.

Now, a new finding may lead to ways to limit sweet cravings.

"This particular study of ours just showed us that sweet is a lot more complicated than we thought it was," Dr. Margolskee adds.

Researchers at Philadelphia's Monell Center found that sweet-detectors aren't just located in the taste cells on the tongue.

The same type of sensor cells are throughout the digestive system.

And they all talk to each other to control appetite.

Dr. Margolskee says, "Let you know if you've had enough food. If you;ve released enough sugar and ultimately, if you're no longer hungry."

His colleague, Karen Yee, adds, "Like if we ate a piece of chocolate cake, it might decrease the sensitivity of glucose, to have us, prevent us perhaps to eat another piece of chocolate cake."

They Monell research turned up another interesting finding - taste sensor cells know the difference between sugar, which has calories, and sweeteners which don't have any calories.

Some obesity experts have long argued that drinking diet soda doesn't satiate the taste buds, leaving the body craving more sweets.

The Monell researchers hope they gaining a better understanding of how the body controls food intake could open the door to ways to cut back.

Dr. Margolskee says, "It's possible that we could lead to improved diet control - less obesity, and less diabetes."

That's the goal scientists are trying to reach.... In the meantime,,, Dr. Margolskee says you can help prevent over-eating by taking your time when you eat. That gives the taste sensors in your digestive tract more time to register the energy intake... And send those signals to the other taste cells that you've had enough.

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