Diet may influence taste sensitivity and preference: Study

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Food choice can be regulated to mitigate nutrient deficit or excess

What you eat influences your taste for what you might want to eat next. This is claimed by a team of scientists at the University of California, US, after a study performed on fruit flies.

The study offers a better understanding of neurophysiological plasticity of the taste system in flies.

The researchers report that diet affects dopamine and insulin signaling in the brain, which, in turn, affects the flies’ peripheral sensory response, which is comprised of neurons directly involved in detecting external stimuli. This response then influences what the flies eat next.

Interestingly, when the flies that were fed unbalanced diets were returned to a balanced diet, their taste sensitivity returned to baseline levels, suggesting that changes in taste preference are reversible.

Individuals on a high sugar diet could see a dampening of sugar taste, making sugars less palatable at least for the short term. Similarly, a low protein diet would enhance umami taste, increasing the value of protein-rich foods to be consumed next.

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