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The Sixth Taste: Australian researchers find that taste buds may play a role in obesity


I may eat fast, but I definitely stop at fatty foods (unless said fatty foods are cleverly disguised as delicious Tartine morning buns). In fact, ever since I first bit into a fatty corner of a steak, I've felt nothing but concentrated revulsion towards those greasy white substances that surround meat like some nauseating Saturnian rings. Thus I often find myself spending many meals performing complicated "fatectomies" just to make my food palatable.

Now, according to Australian researchers, instead of being mildly neurotic, it turns out that I might just have sensitive taste buds. From an article in The Age:

A Deakin University study has found that humans can detect a sixth taste - fat - and this may hold the key to reducing obesity.

Building on US research that used animal models to discover fat taste, researchers tested the ability of humans to identify fatty acids commonly found in food.

. . . By using this method, researchers found that humans have a taste threshold for fat that varies from person to person.

And, according to the study, which has been published in the British Journal of Nutrition, people who were sensitive to fat, and who could taste it easily, were found to have lower body mass indexes than people with lower sensitivities. Lead researcher Russell Keast hopes this research may one day help people lower their fat consumption:

"We are now interested in understanding why some people are sensitive and others are not, which we believe will lead to ways of helping people lower their fat intakes and aid development of new low-fat foods and diets."

Of course, my bloodhound-like, fat-sensing palette has done absolutely nothing to reduce my waistline. But perhaps that has something to do with my affinity for those Tartine morning buns.

Photo by avlxyz

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