Gymnema Tea: Disrupting Taste

By Joan Griswold
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This interactive lesson explores how our bodies detect sweet food, and what happens when those detectors are disrupted with Gymnema sylvestre tea. Written for direct student access through a Google Site, this lesson can be used for in-person, hybrid, or online education.

In this lesson, students learn (or experience) how Gymnema tea impacts taste by blocking sweet taste receptors. Students then create a model of the taste bud to illustrate signal perception and cellular response. Students revise their models after learning more about cellular communication, and apply what they know about taste buds on the tongue to taste buds in the gut, which may impact blood glucose levels.

Students learn:

  • Our bodies have sensory cells that perceive and communicate signals that result in our brains sensing sweet taste. Both sugar and artificial sweeteners stimulate these sensory cells.
  • Blood glucose levels are regulated to say within a healthy range. Type 2 diabetes is the result of chronic high blood glucose levels over time.

This lesson is part of the GEMNet Type 2 Diabetes Lesson Series.

Resource Contact:
Griswold, Joan C – MIT