Scientists discover ‘flavor of fat’, could help counter obesity related problems

Obesity is one of the most debated issues among health professionals in this new millennium. Most of the countries and especially America faces a major problem of obesity. Most of the men, women and children are suffering from one or other form of obesity.

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But scientists have seemed to have discovered a solution which will definitely help fight obesity better. Scientists have claimed to find a new flavor, the flavor of ‘fat’.

1 What is Obesity and its effects?

Obesity is the name given to a medical condition in which excess body fat gets accumulated in the body, sometimes to an extent that it may cause harmful and negative effect on the body.

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These effects can be in form of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer. The causes of obesity are generally excessive food intake; lack of physical activity and in some cases genetic issues. It is considered as one of the leading preventable cause of death worldwide and one of the major health problem of 21st century.

What is Obesity and its effects

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2 Scientific research and taste of ‘fat’

Scientists have now claimed to have found the taste of fat. The taste of fat joins other flavors like sweet, salty, sour and bitter. The scientists have named the flavor as oleogustus; a unique and unpleasant taste.

The identification of the taste can lead to finding more cures to heart disease and obesity and also aid in production of better fat replacements.

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Scientific research and taste of ‘fat’

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3 What the scientists say?

“Our experiments provide a missing element in the evidence that fat has a taste sensation, and that it is different from other tastes,” says professor Richard Mattes, director of the Ingestive Behaviour Research Centre at Purdue University in Indiana, United States.

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“Identifying the taste of fat has a range of important health implications. At high concentrations, the signal it generates would dissuade the eating of rancid foods,” he adds

What the scientists say

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4 Fat replacements

Current fat substitutes do a great job of mimicking the texture of fat, but they fail to mimic the taste of the fat. “Our food choices are often based on memories of how we felt after eating an item, but the taste of fat may contribute to those associations”, added professor Richard Mattes.

Our choices of what we eat are associated with the taste of the substance that we ate and that remains in the memory. Taste of fat is also a contributor to those associations.

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Fat replacements

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There have been 4 primary taste qualities – sweet, sour, bitter and salty which have been recognized since ancient times. In 1908, another taste- Umami or the taste of sour foods was added to the group.

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5 Experiments with the taste of fat

The scientists conducted a series of experiments investigating the taste of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), or free fatty acids.

In 2 experiments, scientists asked some volunteers to sample a range of different substances including both fatty and non-fatty substances, while wearing nose clips to block out the smell of the substances. The volunteers were also asked to group those substances into specific groups.

Experiments with the taste of fat

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The texture of the substances was kept same and uniform, only differentiated in tastes. Results showed that the volunteers identified the taste of fat as bitter, irritating and uneatable.

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