Want to make sure your research project gets plenty of notoriety? Just ignore the most obvious (albeit boring) conclusion and instead “speculate” that there’s a mysterious “switch” that you can flip that makes you fat.
That seems to be working for this group of Australian researchers; their study was featured on television this morning, and I just ran across it again on Yahoo’s health news. You can see the article by clicking this link.
What they found is actually very interesting and was previously unknown-that the human tongue can detect fatty acids in food. It was previously thought that there were only five tastes–sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (a savoury, protein-rich taste contained in foods such as soy sauce and chicken stock).
Everyone that they tested was able to identify the fatty acids, however some needed higher concentrations than others. They also found that the people who were most sensitive to fat, those who could taste very low concentrations, had lower BMIs (body mass indexes) and consumed less fat than the people who were insensitive.
Then the speculation about the “mystery switch” starts. They suggest that some people, the ones who don’t detect fat as easily, don’t have a “trigger” that tells them to stop eating these fatty foods, which of course leads to weight gain.
So if we can just discover a way to re-arm this hidden mechanism, out obesity problems will be solved. All we need to do is fund a lot more research, and then maybe the pharmaceutical companies will be able to develop a pill that will make it all better. Yeah, right…
Answer me this, oh enlightened researchers…aren’t people on low-sodium diets more sensitive to the taste of salt? Isn’t a can of cola sickeningly sweet to anyone who doesn’t drink it regularly? So if fat is also a taste, wouldn’t the same principles apply?
Could it be possible that the overweight people have become desensitized to the taste of fats because they consume them so regularly? That the people who choose to limit their fat intake have lower BMIs because they make better decisions? No, no, that’s not going to make anyone any money, it must be something else. We better fund some more research.