If you love the way fatty foods taste, you’re certainly not alone. And now, Australian scientists suggest fat is more than a texture of food, they say it’s the “sixth taste” after sweet, salt, sour and bitter, and umami.
“The evidence now is comprehensive and overwhelming enough to call fat a taste,” researcher Russell Keast of Deakin University in Melbourne said to the Guardian.
The research is published in a recent issue of the Flavour Journal, making a case for considering fat a taste. Umami was only recognized in 2002 as being that savory, meaty taste that doesn’t fall under salty.
To be considered one of the human tastes, fat must meet five criteria all other taste have met, which includes whether or not the tongue possesses taste buds capable of detecting fat.
The researchers also say that identifying fat as a taste could be useful in treating and preventing the growing global obesity epidemic. The same researchers studies the weight of people who were sensitive to the taste of fat, showing that they eat less than those who aren’t as sensitive to it.
“We have to put a lot more fat into the trials we do for people who are overweight or obese so they are able to identify it, than healthy-weight people,” the researchers noted.
“It has this relationship with diet which appears to be very important.
“When we think about those foods that were put out in the 1990s, low-fat foods that were often failures, maybe it’s as simple as not understanding the role of fat.
“You just can’t remove the fat from a food and replace the textural components and replace the flavour release and expect it to be successful because you haven’t matched the taste component, which has all of these other physiological and psychological effects that will affect the liking and acceptance of the food.”
The research is promising in at least having a better understanding of how the brain perceives fat. If it is a legitimate “taste” that could certainly explain a lot about our diet choices and help us to eat healthier sources of fatty foods.
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