October 11, 2008, 7:49 pm
How do our guts deal with poisonous food?
Ever wondered why poisonous things taste bad? Best not to wonder - just spit them out! Scientists have discovered that bitterness slows down the digestive process, giving more time for the poison to be expelled from the stomach if it is swallowed.
But there are other mechanisms too - bitter foods trigger the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) that makes us feel full, ensuring that we don't eat any more!
You may have noticed as you travel that people in different parts of the world enjoy their local food, but visitors do not like it - it might even make them sick! Why does this happen? It is an example of being adapted to the food through a change in the expression and pattern of their dietary sensing molecules - says Timothy Osborne, molecular biology and biochemistry professor and study senior author.