Robin Tucker-Falconer (left) and Brittany Wynn, a graduate student in food and nutrition from Perrysburg, in the College of Health and Human Service's new sensory tasting lab.
Is fat the sixth taste?
Tucker-Falconer study explores possible taste/weight connection
High-fat foods are known for their textures—the smooth, creamy feel of ice cream or the crunch of a crispy French fry. The fatty acids in high-fat foods may also possess a taste. If so, is the ability to detect fatty acids in foods associated with weight problems? As obesity levels around the world continue to rise, researchers are looking for causes. Dr. Robin Tucker-Falconer is part of a team that explored whether people's ability to taste fatty acids was related to their weight status.
Tucker-Falconer, a food and nutrition faculty member in the Department of Public and Allied Health, and her partners have conducted the largest study to date of subjects' ability to taste the essential fatty acid linoleic acid.
"This study adds to the research that suggests 'fat' could eventually be added to the list of primary tastes we learned about in biology class: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami/savory," she said.