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Receptor for tasting fat identified in humans
Date:1/12/2012

a fatty oil. The other two contained solutions that were similar in texture to the oil but were fat-free. Subjects were asked to choose the cup that was different.

"We did the same three-cup test several times with each subject to learn the thresholds at which individuals could identify fat in the solution," explains first author M. Yanina Pepino, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine. "If we had asked, 'does it taste like fat to you?' that could be very subjective. So we tried to objectively measure the lowest concentration of fat at which someone could detect a difference."

Her team masked input that might help participants identify fat by sight or smell. To eliminate visual cues, they lit the testing area with a red lamp. Study subjects also wore nose clips so that they could not smell the solutions.

Fat is an important component of the diet, and both humans and animals usually prefer high-fat, energy-dense foods. Scientists have believed that people identify those high-fat foods mainly by texture, but this study suggests that the presence of fat can change the way our tongues perceive the food, just as it does for the tastes sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory (umami).


Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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