Thursday, March 11, 2010

The taste of fat

We used to think there were four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. Then umami was discovered, which is the taste of meat (okay, protein-rich foods, and it's in mushrooms and tomatoes, too). Now researchers say they have discovered a sixth taste, fat.

What's more, as with other tastes, some people are more sensitive to it than others, and the most sensitive tend to avoid it, as broccoli supertasters avoid broccoli.

You have to assume this is genetic, and it may explain part of how obesity runs in families. Some people just do or don't like the taste of fat.

So what does this mean for a child care provider or early childhood educator? You'd think there would be some application, but I can't think of one. I guess you could offer really fatty foods to kids to see how much they liked them, and then only let the kids who don't like them have them. That would get you a worst provider nomination.

No, I think the implications are more pharmaceutical than child developmental. I'm sure they will be looking for ways to use this to make low fat food taste good or high fat food taste bad to a particular person.

As long as they don't touch my chocolate.

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