Taste, not smell, of fatty foods lures eaters

December 12, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Taste, not smell, of fatty foods lures eaters

Researchers from Purdue University say it is something in the taste, not the smell, of fat that lures people to rich foods.

Wearing nose plugs, study participants given a taste, but not a whiff, of cream cheese and crackers stimulated an immediate rise in their blood fat levels, while those given a sniff but not a taste did not show a rise.

This suggests that taste is the stimulus that causes the rise in blood fat levels. Experiments with rats and mice also show they preferred fatty foods, even when their sense of smell was short-circuited.

If these findings hold up, science may have to include fat in the list of five flavors that the human palate can detect: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and "umami," which is evoked by MSG in foods.

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