Discover Magazine: Gut Feelings

Every November, millions of Americans tuck into a tasty Thanksgiving dinner, most often a traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings. Come December, they feast all over again. Few of the holiday diners realize, however, that their bodies will continue tasting that meal long after they’ve swallowed it.

Scientists are finding that the same taste receptors lining the tongue and palate also occur in the stomach, intestines and other internal organs. They’re finding new receptors that also sense nutrients in our foods. And the more they investigate, the more they learn that these receptors play a crucial role in coordinating our digestion, regulating what we eat and how much — even orchestrating our immune system to defend against pathogens and parasites.

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