NEW YORK (UPI) - U.S. scientists have, for the first time, identified the existence of taste receptors in the human intestines.

Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine researchers found the taste receptor T1R3 and the taste G protein gustducin are also expressed in specialized taste cells of the gut where they sense glucose within the intestine.

"We now know that the receptors that sense sugar and artificial sweeteners are not limited to the tongue," said Dr. Robert Margolskee, the study's lead author. "Our work is an important advance for the new field of gastrointestinal chemosensation -- how the cells of the gut detect and respond to sugars and other nutrients."

Margolskee said researchers now know intestinal cells taste glucose through the same mechanisms used by the tongue.

"The gut taste cells regulate secretion of insulin and hormones that regulate appetite," he said. "Our work sheds new light on how we regulate sugar uptake from our diets and regulate blood sugar levels."

The scientists said their findings might explain why current artificial sweeteners might not help with weight loss.

The research appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.