Scientific studies recently emphasized the fact that humans can detect the taste of fat.
A sixth basic taste may enter the ranks of salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami, even though it’s a bit peculiar how the sixth taste does not actually delight our taste buds.
It should be mentioned that umami refers to a taste associated with meats and other high-protein foods. It is considered to be the fifth basic taste, and it is produced by the presence of glutamates and nucleotides.
The journal Chemical Senses presented a new study, conducted by scientists, who declared “fat” as the sixth taste, with its official name being: Oleogustus (Latin for “a taste of fat”).
According to the National Public Radio (NPR), scientists stalled and carefully considered the facts and their analysis before actually declaring fat as the sixth taste. In order to qualify as a real taste, a flavor must pass a meticulously-organized test, by triggering “specific receptors on our taste buds” and by possessing a “unique chemical signature.”
Prof. Rick Mattes, from the Purdue University’s Department of Nutrition Science and one of the study authors, reported that it was a sensation one would acquire by eating oxidized oil.
The triglycerides (i.e. a natural combination of three fatty acids and glycerol that is the primary constituent of fats and oils) initiate an oily, thick mouth sensation, fat not being purely associated with a flavor.
Moreover, according to previously conducted research, humans indeed have fat receptors on their tongues, but there have been polemics over whether people can accurately determine the taste of fat.
Prof. Mattes also said that the triglycerides offer the richness, viscosity, creaminess etc., despite the fact that this does not refer to taste, but rather to texture. Taste is associated with the triglyceride, that is split into simpler molecules, putting an emphasis on the fatty acid part.
For the successful accomplishment of the study, researchers tasted 28 samples that looked the same, but had different tastes. Over 50 per cent of the subjects could distinguish the samples that actually contained fatty acids.
Oleogustus is found primarily in rancid, repugnant foods, working as an olfactory warning to prevent eating, making it similar to bitter aliments. Nevertheless, the recently mentioned oleogustus doesn’t necessarily have to be unpleasant.
Mattes explained that at significantly low concentrations oleogustus might have precisely the opposite effect, the same way bitter stimuli, if put in a glass of water would determine a taste that the wide majority would interpret as very unpleasant.
Mattes concluded that, in the right context, bitterness adds to the overall pleasant arousal of our taste buds when talking about chocolate, coffee, wine – many of the foods we actually enjoy savoring.
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