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Prague Med Rep. 2013;114(4):222-30.

The role of taste in cephalic phase of insulin secretion.

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Institute of Endocrinology, Prague, Czech Republic.
Grammar School Botičská, Prague, Czech Republic.


The effect of a short gustatory signal of a sweet solution was tested on 15 young male volunteers. The experiment consisted of mouth rinsing with either a sucrose or aspartate solution or pure water as a placebo. Blood was then taken in short intervals of 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 min. Blood glucose, C-peptide, insulin and cortisol were determined. While C-peptide and glucose were unaffected, a short-term increase in insulin was observed after the sucrose, but not after the aspartate or placebo. The increase in insulin was significant, though it amounted to only 0.5 mIU/l and lasted approx. 15 min reaching then the starting value. The decline of cortisol level within 20 min of the experiment was approx. 40 nmol/l, although it was also observed after aspartate or placebo mouth rinsing and was probably caused by stress factors or anticipation. In conclusion, the contribution of taste to the cephalic phase of insulin secretion is small yet significant, and mouth rinsing with 5% sucrose causes an insulin increase of just under 1 IU/l, which returns to starting level within 15 min.

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