Success tastes sweet for scientists
A low-calorie sweetener that tastes like sugar and could help control diseases like diabetes and obesity may be closer to reality thanks to research published today.
Scientists at The University of Manchester and The University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have made a major advance in understanding what makes a substance taste sweet.
The discovery could help pave the way for the development of low-calorie sweeteners that mimic natural sugar and leave no bitter aftertaste.
“Our study has for the first time measured how sugar and some synthetic sweeteners interact with two types of taste receptors on the tongue,” said Dr Graeme Conn in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.
“Some synthetic sweeteners only interact with one receptor. We found that sugar interacts with both. Similarly, sucralose, the sweetener used in Splenda, also interacted with both receptors but with a greater intensity to sugar.
“Knowing what molecular mechanisms are at play has given us a greater understanding of what makes sugar taste sweet and will no doubt help us design better sweeteners.”
The research findings, published in the November 8 issue of the scientific journal Current Biology, have implications for diabetic patients, who need to regulate their sugar intake, as well as for tackling the growing problem of obesity.
A recent study by food firm GoLower showed that the average adult in Britain consumed 33 teaspoons of sugar a day, more than three times the recommended amount.
Much of this sugar intake was consumed through everyday food items, like baked beans, bread and cereal, as well as in tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks.
“A major goal of the food-science industry has been to create a sweetener that tastes like sugar but isn’t high in calories,” said Dr Steven Munger, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“To do this, it would be invaluable to know how the natural substance interacts with taste receptors so that synthetic products can be created to mimic that interaction.
“We hope that food scientists can use our research to create sugar alternatives with the most natural taste, offering more choice to consumers who rely on low-calorie products to help control diseases like diabetes and obesity.”
Aeron Haworth | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...