A new study, which suggests humans can taste fat, may help stop obesity.

Written by  Kaylan Chester

Sixth Sense

Beyond the commonly recognized tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami (savory), a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that humans are also able to detect the taste of fats in foods.

They also found that subjects who were more sensitive to the taste of fats tended to consume less fatty foods in their everyday diets and had a lower body mass index than the subjects with a lower sensitivity. Russell Keast, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the study, says the findings may provide new insight to the fight against obesity. “Obesity is multifactorial, and insensitivity to fat, via fatty acids, will only be one of those factors,” he says. “We believe that the people who are insensitive to fatty acids are not getting satiety signals—or they are not being told by their body to stop eating. We do not have any firm leads how this might be overcome, but the first step is gaining an understanding of factors involved, then seeing what strategies could be put in place to help fatty acid-insensitive people.”

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