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Abstract

Taste is a chemical sense that aids in the detection of nutrients and guides food choice. A limited number of primary qualities comprise taste. Accumulating evidence has raised a question about whether fat should be among them. Most evidence indicates triacylglycerol is not an effective taste stimulus, though it clearly contributes sensory properties to foods by carrying flavor compounds and altering texture. However, there is increasing anatomical, electrophysiological, animal behavior, imaging, metabolic, and psychophysical evidence that free fatty acids are detectable when non-taste cues are minimized. Free fatty acids varying in saturation and chain length are detectable, suggesting the presence of multiple transduction mechanisms and/or a nonspecific mechanism in the oral cavity. However, confirmation of “fatty” as a taste primary will require additional studies that verify these observations are taste specific. Oral exposure to free fatty acids likely serves as a warning signal to discourage intake and influences lipid metabolism.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141108
2009-08-21
2024-04-24
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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