Purdue University scientists have isolated the taste of fat and say it should be treated like the other five known tastes — bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami, or savoriness — the human body is biologically tailored to detect.
The discovery may have important implications for obesity research and human biology in general, Forbes
The scientists, led by Richard Mattes, studied building blocks of fat: fatty acids that the tongue can detect on the molecular level.
Volunteers tasted a series of samples infused with chemicals representing the basic tastes, and fatty acids. The latter evoked specific tastes distinct from the other five.
The big surprise is that fatty acids – the building blocks of fats – taste bad on their own. But the scientists said that fat, in combination with other tastes, aromas, and textures (such as the starches and salt in French fries) are innately gratifying.
That suggests we may be programmed to like fats and dislike fatty acids.
“We have a situation where one form of fat is adding to the appeal of food and may encourage intake. While with another, the taste signal is aversive, discouraging consumption,” Mattes says.
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