Mechanisms for sweetness

J Nutr. 2012 Jun;142(6):1134S-41S. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.149567. Epub 2012 May 9.


A remarkable amount of information has emerged in the past decade regarding sweet taste physiology. This article reviews these data, with a particular focus on the elucidation of the sweet taste receptor, its location and actions in taste transduction in the mouth, its nontaste functions in the gastrointestinal tract (e.g., in enteroendocrine cells), and the brain circuitry involved in the sensory processing of sweet taste. Complications in the use of rodents to model human sweet taste perception and responses are also considered. In addition, information relating to low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) is discussed in the context of these issues. Particular consideration is given to the known effects of LCS on enteroendocrine cell function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Sweetening Agents / chemistry
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / physiology
  • Taste Perception / physiology*


  • Sweetening Agents