Brain’s ‘Sixth Sense’ For Calories Discovered


I just read this news at Science Daily

Researchers from Duke University have found that, in mice, the brain has an ability to quickly (around 10 minutes) understand the caloric content of food, independently of how sweet it tastes.  It was previously thought that this was deduced from taste signals.  Their experiment involved creating mice that could not taste sweetness, and then feeding them both sucrose and sucralose (which is non-caloric).  They found that the sucrose triggered the dopamine reward system in their brains, even without the taste trigger.

This could be very useful in understanding human eating and over-eating issues and may help to explain differences between for instance sucrose and fructose in the diet.

Ivan de Araujo and colleagues published their findings in the March 27, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron.