SWEETENERS IN ANIMAL NUTRITION II. MECHANISMS OF ACTION

Published: 13/10/2021
Published by :
Josep Chillón
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The prices of some raw materials used in animal nutrition tend to fluctuate and nutritionists are sometimes forced to use components of moderate or low palatability. In addition to the ingredients, other components such as medicinal products will have a major impact on taste and therefore on whether intake by animals is higher or lower.

The ability to perceive sweet taste is very important both in animals and humans to assess the nutritional and caloric content of a food or feed. Sweetener molecules in general are sensed by receptors, but the most important sweet sensor in the case of simple carbohydrates is a G protein-coupled heterodimer known as taste receptor type 1 member 2 and member 3 – T1R2 and T1R3 respectively.

A few years ago, it was discovered that these receptors are not only found on the tongue but that they are also present in the apical region of the enteroendocrine cells of the gut. The expression of these intestinal receptors in response to different types of nutrients triggers a series of intracellular mechanisms that will lead to intestinal hormone secretion. This is of major importance because these hormones regulate key physiological processes such as digestion, absorption, intake, satiety or glucose homeostasis. This process of intestinal nutrient detection is known as chemosensing.

Some studies confirm that, in addition to carbohydrates, some high intensity sweeteners might be responsible for enhanced glucose absorption.


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