Phone numbers
Treatment enquiries: 01483 745 066
International callers: +44 (0)1483 745 066
Make An Enquiry

Binge eating may be caused by taste bud cells

Binge eaters may have their tongues to blame when they binge. New research shows that part of the desire to binge on sweets when stressed comes from taste bud receptors on the tongue.

Scientists have known for many years that stress can cause people to binge eat. This is because stress triggers the body to release hormones called Glucocorticoids or GCs. These hormones bind to receptors in certain cells and influence human’s food choices. For most people the hormones trigger a desire for sweet and high fat food.

The researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia PA decided to take this information and test whether taste buds have GC receptors.

What they found was that taste buds do have GC receptors but some had more than others. The taste buds with the most GC receptors were those that detected sweet and umami tastes.

This means that, under stress, our sweet and savoury taste buds are more active and we therefor crave sweet and umami foods.

So far, tests in mice show that stressed mice had a 77% higher level of GC hormones in their taste buds than non-stressed mice. This provides a direct link between stress and desire for sweet foods. "Taste provides one of our initial evaluations of potential foods. If this sense can be directly affected by stress-related hormonal changes, our food interaction will likewise be altered," said Lead Researcher M. Rockwell Parker, PhD.

With this new discovery, scientists may be able to explain why some people are more likely to crave sweet food when under stress. It is important to remember that taste buds are present in the mouth but also in the gut and pancreas. This means stress could be linked to metabolism and appetite.

Armed with this knowledge, scientists may be able to design a drug that would actually block GC receptors. This could stop stress from causing binge eating and possibly provide a treatment for other food related problems.

Contact Life Works Today

To discuss how the Life Works team can help to support individuals and families dealing with an eating disorder or for further information on treatment programmes, please call: 01483 745 066 or click here to make an enquiry.

Contact Us

Call our Enquiry Line

01483 745 066
Free Eating Disorder Assessment

Book a Free Confidential Eating Disorder Assessment at Life Works in Surrey.   

01483 745 066
Can't find what you're looking for?
Contact us by phone: 01483 745 066 or Make An Enquiry