Your Taste Buds Can Cause You To Overeat

You might think this sounds ridiculous. How can one link tastebuds to eating habits? Apparently, new research from Deakin University has demonstrated that this can happen, but it is highly specific. The researchers postulated that eating a diet high in fat can actually prime your tastebuds for overeating.

While this might have come out of the scientific community, it’s mechanism isn’t all that unusual. You see, when people eat too much fat, it decreases their tastebuds’ sensitivity to it, which results in more fat being required to satisfy them. Sound familiar? This is the same mechanism of addiction regardless of vice, be it alcohol, nicotine, pornography, gambling etc.

Coming back to fat and tastebuds, the researchers have reported that the threshold for tasting fat can actually be “re-set”. That means that people who have a high fat diet, which correlates well with people who are overweight in the first place, are affected by this mechanism than everyone else.

This piece of research has been published in “Obesity”, which, unsurprisingly, is the name for an International journal that deals with this topic. It was conducted by subjecting overweight people to varying diets with a similar calorie load. For completeness, they also tested others on a lower calorie diet with varying fat percentages.


People on the low-fat diet reported increased sensitivity, which meant that they were able to identify the taste of fat at lower levels. The interesting thing, however, is that when one is able to taste it, it actually tasted unpleasant. Not what we would expect, right? Isn’t science fascinating?

The researchers also took it one step further and tested the gut bacteria of study participants. They found that the people who were able to identify fat through taste felt full earlier, which means that it is congruent with what is happening in the gut, which was subsequently being communicated to the brain.

In the interest of combating obesity, the research group is studying whether the ability to taste fat is something that is coded within the genes and can be inherited. The way they are going to do this would involve sets of twins, each of whom is given a different diet. The way they test it would be to study the taste buds before and after the study to identify changes.

Consistent with current understanding, different parts of the tastebuds can react differently to different stimuli. The unfortunate thing is that we do not know exactly how this works yet, but this will be tested as part of this study. You can be sure that it will be reported here on the Granite Fitness Blog in time to come if they publish the results of that study. Stay tuned.

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