Project Details


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36% of American adults are obese and 17% are overweight. Furthermore, the CDC reports that from 1990 to 2010 obesity increased dramatically among US adults. Along with the increasing girth there has been an increase in obesity-related diseases: diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. Although the proximate cause(s) for the increased incidence of obesity during the past few decades is unknown, arguments have been made for overconsumption of calorie-rich foods and/or of starch and sugar-sweetened insulinogenic beverages, decreased physical activity, and decreased breast-feeding. Regardless of which factors contribute most to obesity, an energy imbalance with higher consumption vs. expenditure of calories is key, and the stimulation of insulin is necessary. Preferential consumption of sugary sodas and fruit juices over lower-calorie beverages and potential differences in satiation from calories in liquid vs. solid form are known contributors. Replacing sugars in beverages with non-caloric sweeteners or otherwise diminishing consumption of sugar-rich beverages may aid weight loss or dampen weight gain. Diet sodas, however, are often not as effective as water consumption at reducing weight, and consumers overwhelmingly prefer caloried sodas to no-calorie sodas.The functional imaging studies and psychophysical taste experiments proposed in this research will determine if sugar transporters and metabolic sensors are present and active in human taste cells and if they are likely to contribute to sugar perception in humans. Improving our understanding of the roles of glucose signaling in taste may help prevent and control obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, which now afflict greater than 25% of Americans. This is a NIFA priority area as it affects Childhood Obesity and associated diseases in children.
Effective start/end date6/20/165/14/21


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))


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