The Role of Post-Ingestive Feedback in the Development of an Enhanced Appetite for the Orosensory Properties of Glucose over Fructose in Rats

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 18;12(3):807. doi: 10.3390/nu12030807.


The simple sugars glucose and fructose share a common "sweet" taste quality mediated by the T1R2+T1R3 taste receptor. However, when given the opportunity to consume each sugar, rats learn to affectively discriminate between glucose and fructose on the basis of cephalic chemosensory cues. It has been proposed that glucose has a unique sensory property that becomes more hedonically positive through learning about the relatively more rewarding post-ingestive effects that are associated with glucose as compared to fructose. We tested this theory using intragastric (IG) infusions to manipulate the post-ingestive consequences of glucose and fructose consumption. Food-deprived rats with IG catheters repeatedly consumed multiple concentrations of glucose and fructose in separate sessions. For rats in the "Matched" group, each sugar was accompanied by IG infusion of the same sugar. For the "Mismatched" group, glucose consumption was accompanied by IG fructose, and vice versa. This condition gave rats orosensory experience with each sugar but precluded the differential post-ingestive consequences. Following training, avidity for each sugar was assessed in brief access and licking microstructure tests. The Matched group displayed more positive evaluation of glucose relative to fructose than the Mismatched group. A second experiment used a different concentration range and compared responses of the Matched and Mismatched groups to a control group kept naïve to the orosensory properties of sugar. Consistent with results from the first experiment, the Matched group, but not the Mismatched or Control group, displayed elevated licking responses to glucose. These experiments yield additional evidence that glucose and fructose have discriminable sensory properties and directly demonstrate that their different post-ingestive effects are responsible for the experience-dependent changes in the motivation for glucose versus fructose.

Keywords: flavor–nutrient learning; gut nutrient sensing; taste; visceroceptive feedback.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Feedback
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Fructose / administration & dosage*
  • Glucose / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taste / physiology


  • Fructose
  • Glucose