Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Researchers discover giant pandas have a sweet tooth

See also

Giant pandas have been found to have a preference for some natural sweeteners, including fructose and sucrose, and the sensory apparatus necessary to taste sweetness by Dr. Danielle Reed, a behavioral geneticist at Monell Chemical Senses Center, and colleagues according to their report in the March 26, 2014, edition of the journal Public Library of Science.

No one knew pandas liked sweet food prior to this discovery.

The first cue to panda’s preference for sweets was the animal’s almost exclusive diet of bamboo. Bamboo contains some fructose and sucrose in very small quantities.

Test pandas were given two bowls to drink from for five minutes. One bowl contained water and the other contained water and one of six sugars.

All the test pandas preferred the sugar solution. Sucrose and fructose were the animal’s favorite. Most of the test animals downed a liter of sugar and water in less than five minutes.

Similar tests with artificial sweeteners indicated pandas have no preference for artificial sweeteners. This result may indicate pandas do not have the taste cells that sense artificial sweeteners.

The tests indicate that the sensory apparatus for tasting sugars has been conserved in pandas despite their plant diet and probably because of the low levels of sucrose and fructose in bamboo.



  • Jar-Jar is more popular than Congress
    A new poll shows Jar-Jar Binks is more popular than Congress
  • Missing girl found
    After 9 months of being missing, Abigail Hernandez is back with her family
    US News
  • Tree destroyed by beetles
    A tree meant to honor Beatle George Harrison has been destroyed by beetles
    Top News
  • Mystery flags on bridge
    Mysterious white flags have replaced the American ones on the Brooklyn Bridge
    New York
  • Weird Al album debut
    Weird Al's new album has officially debuted at no. 1
  • Broncos owner resigns
    Broncos owner Pat Bowlen has resigned due to Alzheimer's

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>