WASHINGTON — Move over sweet and salt: Researchers say we have a distinct and basic taste for fat, too.
They propose expanding our taste palate to include fat along with sweet, salty, bitter, sour and relative newcomer umami.
A research team at Purdue University tested look-alike mixtures with different tastes. More than half of the 28 special tasters could distinguish fatty acids from the other tastes.
Nutrition science professor Richard Mattes said the fat taste isn't exactly good, even though people gobble up lots of it. He said stinky cheese has high levels of the fat taste and so does food that goes rancid. Yet we like it because it mixes well and brings out the best of other flavors.
They propose calling the taste "oleogustus" (Oh-leo-GUS'-tus) after Latin for fat taste.