People able to taste fat likely to remain slim

Monday, March 8, 2010

SYDNEY - People who have the ability to taste fat are likely to remain slim as they tend to eat less fatty food, a new study says.

Deakin University (DU) researcher Russell Keast and doctoral student Jessica Stewart, working with colleagues at the University of Adelaide, CSIRO and Massey University (New Zealand), have found that humans can detect a sixth taste - fat.

Our findings are based on previous research in the United States that used animal models to discover fat taste, Keast said.

We know that the human tongue can detect five tastes - sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami (a taste for identifying protein rich foods). Through our study we can conclude that humans have a sixth taste - fat.

The research team developed a screening procedure to test the ability of people to taste a range of fatty acids commonly found in foods.

They found that people have a taste threshold for fat and that these thresholds vary from person to person; some people have a high sensitivity to the taste while others do not.

Interestingly, we also found that those with a high sensitivity to the taste of fat consumed less fatty foods and had lower body mass index (BMIs, height to weight ratio) than those with lower sensitivity, Keast said.

With fats being easily accessible and commonly consumed in diets today, this suggests that our taste system may become desensitised to the taste of fat over time, leaving some people more susceptible to overeating fatty foods,” says a DU release.

These results are published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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