What Does Diabetes "Taste" Like?

Curr Diab Rep. 2016 Jun;16(6):49. doi: 10.1007/s11892-016-0746-2.


The T1R2 (taste type 1 receptor, member 2)/T1R3 (taste type 1 receptor, member 3) sweet taste receptor is expressed in taste buds on the tongue, where it allows the detection of energy-rich carbohydrates of food. This single receptor responds to all compounds perceived as sweet by humans, including natural sugars and natural and artificial sweeteners. Importantly, the T1R2/T1R3 sweet taste receptor is also expressed in extra-oral tissues, including the stomach, pancreas, gut, liver, and brain. Although its physiological role remains to be established in numerous organs, T1R2/T1R3 is suspected to be involved in the regulation of metabolic processes, such as sugar sensing, glucose homeostasis, and satiety hormone release. In this review, the physiological role of the sweet taste receptor in taste perception and metabolic regulation is discussed by focusing on dysfunctions leading to diabetes. Current knowledge of T1R2/T1R3 inhibitors making this receptor a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is also summarized and discussed.

Keywords: Carbohydrate; Diabetes; Metabolic hormones; Obesity; Sweet taste receptor; Sweetener.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carbohydrates
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled