Does Nutrient Sensing Determine How We “See” Food?

Sophie C. Hamr, Beini Wang, Timothy D. Swartz, Frank A. Duca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The ability to “see” both incoming and circulating nutrients plays an essential role in the maintenance of energy homeostasis. As such, nutrient-sensing mechanisms in both the gastrointestinal tract and the brain have been implicated in the regulation of energy intake and glucose homeostasis. The intestinal wall is able to differentiate individual nutrients through sensory machinery expressed in the mucosa and provide feedback signals, via local gut peptide action, to maintain energy balance. Furthermore, both the hypothalamus and hindbrain detect circulating nutrients and respond by controlling energy intake and glucose levels. Conversely, nutrient sensing in the intestine plays a role in stimulating food intake and preferences. In this review, we highlight the emerging evidence for the regulation of energy balance through nutrient-sensing mechanisms in the intestine and the brain, and how disruption of these pathways could result in the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent diabetes reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Food intake
  • Glucose homeostasis
  • Gut peptides
  • Hypothalamus
  • Intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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