After researchers fed fruit flies an excessive sugar food regimen, the flies’ flavor neurons precipitated a molecular chain reaction that hampered their capacity to taste chocolates, which in turn fueled overeating and obesity. Further, eating sugar caused taste adjustments, no longer the metabolic results of weight problems or the sweet taste of meals.
Some studies indicate that people with weight problems overeat because they don’t revel in food—especially sweets—as plenty as lean human beings do. But it’s no longer understood if weight problems itself or eating positive meals reasons taste changes, or how the one’s adjustments affect urge for food and obesity.
For clues, researchers turned to Drosophila melanogaster—fruit flies. The fly findings are sizable because if people respond in addition to sugar, researchers are toward know-how how an excessive amount of sugar contributes to overeating and obesity. And, due to the fact these are molecular changes, it helps the concept that overeating is at the least partly past our control.
More sugar, much less taste
While it’s impossible to measure fruit flies’ “leisure” of food, they ate extra on the excessive-sugar food plan, says principal investigator Monica Dus, assistant professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at the University of Michigan.
And sure—fruit flies do become obese, says Christina May, first author of the observe and a doctoral pupil in Dus’s lab. Flies and human beings share other surprising similarities: Both love sugar and fats and bring dopamine upon eating them. Their mind cells use some of the identified proteins and molecules people do for the same matters.
The researchers tested their findings in several approaches. First, they fed flies that have been genetically obese but by no means ate a candy weight-reduction plan, and their taste didn’t trade. However, once they fed sugar equivalent to a cookie to flies unable to keep fats, they stayed skinny; however, they nonetheless lost the capability to taste goodies.
“That’s without a doubt outstanding because it tells you their ability to flavor candies changed because of what they’re ingesting, now not because they’re becoming obese,” May says. To determine if the sugar or the candy taste of meals prompted flavor adjustments, the researchers fed flies a diet much like artificially sweetened eating regimen soda. Only the documents eating real sugar lost their sweet-tasting capability. “We comprehend it’s something unique approximately the sugar within the diet that’s making them lose their taste,” Dus says.
Taste and overeating
The researchers diagnosed the molecule O-GlcNAc transferase, a sugar sensor positioned in the flies’ flavor buds that maintains how much sugar is in the cells. OGT has previously been implicated in weight problems-related situations like diabetes and coronary heart ailment in human beings. They additionally manipulated flies’ taste cells so that even on an excessive-sugar food plan, they wouldn’t lose taste, and those flies didn’t overheat no matter hundreds of sweets.
“This manner, the changes in taste, as a minimum in flies, are pretty essential to force overconsumption and weight gain,” Dus says. “Do adjustments in flavor additionally play a function in the overconsumption that we see when people and different animals discover themselves in meal environments excessive in sugar?” Study coauthor Anoumid Vaziri, a doctoral scholar in Dus’ lab, says the findings “now not only shed mild on sugar-weight-reduction plan-based neural mechanisms of overeating and obesity, however, offer a platform to examine the underlying molecular mechanisms that force modifications in the neural pastime.”