Washington:Scientists claim to have discovered a sixth flavour – the taste of fat – and say it could hold the key to fighting obesity and heart disease.
According to researchers, fat, which now joins sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, has a “unique and unpleasant taste”, which they have named oleogustus.
This finding could lead to new ways of fighting obesity and heart disease, and to the creation of improved fat replacements, researchers said.
“Our experiments provide a missing element in the evidence that fat has a taste sensation, and that it is different from other tastes,” Professor Richard Mattes, from the Purdue University in US, said.
Researchers investigated the taste sensation of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), or free fatty acids, which are fat’s basic building blocks.
Results showed that the men and women identified fat as having a taste, different from all the other samples, ‘The Independent’ reported.
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, researchers said.
At low levels, it may enhance the appeal of some foods by adding to the overall sensory profile, they said.
The study was published in the journal Chemical Senses.