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The neurobiology of noshing: Why is it so easy to overeat calorie-rich tasty foods? -- ScienceDaily

The position is available starting May and is funded by the ANR. Last update: 22 March The receptors that respond to sweet tastes also respond to the nutritional content of the food and help determine which neuropeptides should be released by taste buds Geraedts and Munger, Moreover, sucrose, unlike sucralose, is known to act on taste receptors in the gastrointestinal tract Steinert et al.

Taken together, these data suggest that taste receptors in both the gustatory system the part of the sensory system that responds to taste and the gastrointestinal system may respond to natural sugars in one way, and to artificial sugars in a different way. An outstanding challenge is to find out how MCH neurons activate dopamine neurons in the striatum. Since these neurons are involved in the regulation of the desire for sugar Cason and Aston-Jones, , and they are also known to interact with MCH neurons Guan et al.

The neurobiology of noshing: Why is it so easy to overeat calorie-rich tasty foods?

The work of Domingos et al. We now understand better why we have an innate desire for sweet foods, which are highly caloric and might have been, in the past, advantageous from an evolutionary perspective. Yet in the modern world, where highly caloric food is readily available, how do we resist this drive so as to avoid the many problems that are associated with obesity? Interestingly, it appears that the increased use of non-caloric sugar substitutes as a mechanism to prevent weight gain or enhance weight loss has come at a cost.

Recent studies show that prolonged consumption of sucralose and other high-intensity sweeteners can have potentially harmful effects on energy metabolism Swithers et al. On the other hand, it has been reported that non-caloric sugar substitutes do little to reduce feelings of hunger Brown et al.

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By applying a combination of novel technologies to a question that nutrition researchers have been investigating for many years, Domingos et al. A great deal of work is required to understand how this circuit relates to higher brain centres and other known nutrient-sensing cells.

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  6. But thanks to the elegant studies by Domingos, Friedman and their co-workers, a door to that path has just been pushed wide open. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited. Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref , PubMed Central , Scopus.

    Sugars that contain glucose, such as sucrose, are generally preferred to artificial sweeteners owing to their post-ingestive rewarding effect, which elevates striatal dopamine DA release.


    While the post-ingestive rewarding effect, which artificial sweeteners do not have, signals the nutrient value of sugar and influences food preference, the neural circuitry that mediates the rewarding effect of glucose is unknown. In this study, we show that optogenetic activation of melanin-concentrating hormone MCH neurons during intake of the artificial sweetener sucralose increases striatal dopamine levels and inverts the normal preference for sucrose vs sucralose.

    Conversely, animals with ablation of MCH neurons no longer prefer sucrose to sucralose and show reduced striatal DA release upon sucrose ingestion. These studies identify an essential component of the neural pathways linking nutrient sensing and food reward.

    How is the brain able to tell the difference between natural sugar and artificial sweetener? Cited 0 Views 1, Annotations Open annotations.

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    The current annotation count on this page is being calculated. Cite this article as: eLife ;3:e doi: Figure 1. Download asset Open asset. The reward value of sucrose in leptin deficient obese mice.