Study Says Fat is the Sixth "Taste" People Can Identify

New study links ability to taste fat with the obesity problem in America.

Study Says Fat is the Sixth “Taste” People Can Identify

New study links ability to taste fat with the obesity problem in America.

-Faye Brennan

fatty foods

In school, you learn that there are five specific tastes a person can distinguish – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and protein-rich. Now, according to researchers at Deakin University and the University of Adelaide in Australia, fat can be added to that list.

In their study, which has been published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, people were given an array of fatty acids found in food and were asked if they could distinguish them by taste. The results showed that, while some people were able to taste fat, others were less likely to.

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This development relates directly to the problem of obesity in America. Researcher Russell Keast from Deakin University said in a statement that the study results “found that those with a high sensitivity to the taste of fat consumed less fatty foods and had lower BMIs (body-mass indices) than those with lower sensitivity.”

Keast’s theory for why some people are less sensitive to the taste of fat is that they become “desensitized to the taste over time” if they regularly eat fatty foods. Therefore, they are less likely to put down those greasy French fries than a person who can taste the fat in them.

Of course, the next step is to test this theory, which Keast believes “will lead to ways of helping people lower their fat intakes and aid development of new low fat foods and diets.” (Yahoo!)

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