In what can only be described as the most shocking revelation since I learned that tumors can grow teeth, it turns out your pancreas has taste receptors. New research published in the PNAS indicates that there are sweet taste receptors in that organ — and their reaction to fructose may be a cause of diabetes.
Top image: Stuffed Pancreas by Kirin Queen
It turns out that we've known about sweet taste receptors in the pancreas for at least a few years, but what this new research shows is that they interact with fructose in previously undiscovered ways. What's meant to happen is that the glucose in our food triggers the pancreas to release insulin, which allows us to use this sugar for energy. However, what this research has shown is that fructose, usually brought in by sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, can trigger insulan secretion too. When both types of sugar are present in our foods, it amps up the release of insulin, pushing too much into the body. Too much insulin is associated with the ever popular type 2 diabetes, and this may explain why high fructose diets have been so closely linked with the disease.
I'm just still weirded out that my internal organs have taste receptors — what other senses are they hiding from me?