It isn’t news to any of us that obesity is on the rise in the US. A new discovery by Dr. Russell Keast could hold the key to reducing obesity rates once and for all. It’s already known that we can detect five different “tastes”: sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami (a taste for protein). But Keast’s study shows that we also have a “sixth” taste – and no, it’s not ESP. But it may be something just as exciting – a taste for fat.
Keast and PhD student Jessica Stewart tested people’s ability to taste fatty acids often found in foods. What they discovered could be quite profound: those with a higher sensitivity to the taste of fat tended to eat fewer fatty foods overall and had lower body mass indexes. Keast’s research suggests that those of us who may overindulge in fatty foods simply don’t taste the fat as keenly as others do.
What might this mean for those of us struggling to lose those extra pounds? There may be hope, and the key to that hope may lie in our own taste buds – taking mindful eating to the next level. Diet programs advise us to listen when our bodies are full. But in the future, will we learn to identify the taste of fat, and put down our spoons before overeating? Maybe. Until that day comes, exercise and a well-balanced diet are still our best bets for a leaner lifestyle.