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Fat, The Sixth Taste?

Introducing oleogustus: "oleo" is the Latin root word for fatty and "gustus" means taste.

The taste of fat is not to be confused with the sensation of eating fat, which can give food, like ice cream, creaminess.

The Makeup Of Taste

Sour, sweet, salty, bitter. Four tastes that have defined what makes food delicious, according to our taste buds.

Recently, scientists discovered umami—a distinctly savory taste recognized in foods like anchovies and truffles.

Now researchers want to add a sixth taste to the list.

Researchers at Purdue University have discovered fat has its own taste, which they’ve named oleogustus.

Introducing Oleogustus

What does fat taste like?

Researchers note the taste of fat is not the same as the sensation of consuming fat, such as the texture of creaminess.

There are no easily identifiable terms for the taste of fat. Researchers asked participants in their study to sort cups containing salty, sweet, umami, bitter, sour or fatty solutions based on similarity.

Since fat isn’t considered a pleasant taste on its own, it was most often grouped with bitter—another taste that isn’t considered pleasant on its own, but can enhance the flavors of certain foods.

Scientists then asked participants to further separate and group tastes based on similarity, which separated fat on its own.

Scientists hope by studying oleogustus’ effect on our tastes, they can further refine food to make it taste better or increase the quality of substitutes.

Read More:

  • Scientists Have Found a New Taste That Could Make Food a Lot More Delicious (Washington Post)
  • Salt, Sweet, Sour…Now Fat Is One of Our Basic Tastes (Medical News Today)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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