A giant panda eats bamboo ahead of a visit by US First Lady Michelle Obama and her family at the Giant Panda Research Base in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province March 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS
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In a blind taste test, eight out of eight pandas agree -- sugar is delicious.Unlike most herbivores, pandas stick to one plant -- bamboo -- which is notoriously low on sugar.Since carnivores "don't eat plants, don't contact sugars, there's no longer a pressure for them to maintain the sweet receptor functional," Beauchamp told AFP.The theory was that bamboo-munching pandas, who also don't seem to be exposed to much sugar, might also have lost their ability taste sweet things.In captivity, pandas do enjoy sweet foods -- including Washington's newest panda cub Bao Bao, who "is apparently relishing sweet potato as a first food during weaning," said Danielle Reed, one of the authors of the paper published in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday.But pandas also need lots of bamboo, or they get sick.
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