There are four basic flavors that the human tongue can detect: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. We also have the ability to identify protein-rich foods and now fat is added to the list. New research suggests that some people are more sensitive to this taste than others. Those that are more sensitive to the taste of fat tend to eat less of it and are often at healthier weights compared with those who are less sensitive to the flavor.
While the threshold for fat may be genetic and this may make some people more likely to choose high-fat foods, it is also important to know that taste buds can get desensitized over time. Fat is a very strong flavor and when people get accustomed to eating high-fat foods, they often need more fat to continue to get the flavor they desire. However, when you cut back on fat (just like when you cut back on sugar or salt), you begin to become more sensitive to the flavor and need less of the ingredient.
Researchers are still studying what makes people more or less sensitive to fat, and they hope that the answer to this question can help people to make better food choices. However, in the mean time, I think it is important to remember that by limiting fat in the diet, you will not need as much to taste the flavor.
Check back for my next post which will include tips on how to decrease fat in the diet.