In fruit flies, researchers found that suppressing the animal's ability to taste food -regardless of how much it actually eats - can significantly increase or decrease its length of life and potentially promote healthy aging.

Bitter tastes could have negative effects on lifespan while sweet tastes had positive effects.

The ability to taste water had the most significant impact - flies that could not taste water lived up to 43 percent longer than other flies, researchers added.

"This brings us further understanding about how sensory perception affects health. It turns out that taste buds are doing more than we think," said Scott Pletcher, an associate professor from University of Michigan.

Researchers from University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland found the loss of taste may cause physiological changes to help the body adapt to the perception that it is not getting adequate nutrients.

"We know they are able to help us avoid or be attracted to certain foods but in fruit flies, it appears that taste may also have a very profound effect on the physiological state and healthy aging," Pletcher added.

According to Joy Alcedo, an assistant professor at Wayne State University, our world is shaped by our sensory abilities that help us navigate our surroundings.

"By dissecting how this affects aging, we can lay the groundwork for new ideas to improve our health," he noted.

The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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