There is a reason why you feel the urge to eat chocolates or sweets when under stress and that is: stress activated hormones hide in the oral taste cells that are responsible for the detection of sweet and get activated when under stress. The activated hormones are referred to as glucocortocoids that may directly act on the taste receptor cells under stressful conditions to affect the response of these eclls to sugar as well as other taste stimuli.
M.Rockwell Parker, chemical ecologist at Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Senses Center said that, "Sweet taste may be particularly affected by stress. Our results may provide a molecular mechanism to help explain why some people eat more sugary foods under stress". Keeping in mind that stress can have major effects on food choice as well as metabolism, the researchers in the study used a mouse model to find out whether taste receptor cells have the GC receptors or not.
The findings of the study showed that GC receptors are present on the tongue where they are especially localised to cells that contain receptors for umami, sweet and bitter taste. The concentration of GC receptors was highest in TAS1r3 taste cells; these are sensitive to sweet as well as umami taste.
The results of the study also showed that sweet taste perception as well as intake, which is known to be altered by stress, can be affected by secretion of GCs as well as subsequent activation of GC receptors in the taste cells. Parker added that, "Taste provides one of our initial evaluations of potential foods. If this sense can be directly affected by stress-related hormonal changes, our food interaction will likewise be altered".
This study has been described in the cover article of the journal Nanophotonics.
Article source: Firstpost
Image source: Getty
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