Fat: the sixth taste - Macleans.ca

Fat: the sixth taste

Study shows why some people eat more unhealthy foods than others


Research has confirmed what couch potatoes have long known: fat has a taste. But, contrary to what you might think, it’s those among us who are less sensitive to the taste of fat that are likely to eat more of it. According to researchers at Australia’s Deakin University, fat is the sixth taste, akin to sweet, sour, salty, bitter and protein-rich. Using animal models in the U.S. to discover the taste of fat, the scientists found that people have a taste threshold for the fatty acids commonly found in foods that varies from person to person. “Interestingly, we also 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,” says researcher Russell Keast, adding that, over time, we may become desensitized the the taste of fat, leading to the over-consumption of unhealthy foods.


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