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Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Protein ... and Now Fat

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the visit-the-chiba-clinic-for-an-upgrade dept.

Science 210

ral writes "The human tongue can taste more than sweet, sour, salty, bitter and protein. Researchers have added fat to that list. Dr. Russell Keast, an exercise and nutrition sciences professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, told Slashfood, 'This makes logical sense. We have sweet to identify carbohydrate/sugars, and umami to identify protein/amino acids, so we could expect a taste to identify the other macronutrient: fat.' In the Deakin study, which appears in the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Keast and his team gave a group of 33 people fatty acids found in common foods, mixed in with nonfat milk to disguise the telltale fat texture. All 33 could detect the fatty acids to at least a small degree."

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210 comments

Show me the receptors (2, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431192)

Just the fact that people can detect fatty acids in their non-fat milk doesn't imply that there is an actually taste receptor for fat. Could also be the change of texture of the milk or activation of other taste receptors by the fatty acids. I would only call this a specific taste when the associated taste receptor protein is identified.

Re:Show me the receptors (5, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431260)

Just the fact that people can detect fatty acids in their non-fat milk doesn't imply that there is an actually taste receptor for fat. Could also be the change of texture of the milk or activation of other taste receptors by the fatty acids. I would only call this a specific taste when the associated taste receptor protein is identified.

I'll notify the British Journal of Nutrition that their published research is invalid.

Re:Show me the receptors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431392)

Was it just me when I read "Protein" as a flavor that Bukkakke or BJ just flashed in my mind?

Re:Show me the receptors (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431488)

Yes, it was just you.

Re:Show me the receptors (4, Funny)

O-Deka-K (1520371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431598)

Well, it's well known that people often associate tastes and smells with their most vivid experiences.

The Bastard Broadcasting Company had a doc on it (2, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431402)

Those scumbags had a documentary on fat in our food and how we as humans have evolved because of it and become very good at eating very fatty food. And they showed it all with constant displays of fat food... succulent beef, silky smooth chocolate, whipped cream, bacon and eggs... I gained ten pounds just watching and at the end ate my remote control.

On the whole, I have to say they got a point. Fat tastes good. Some animals have learned to eat/detect certain muds because they need the minerals in them. Our brain needs fat to fuel itself, so we have learned to tast fat.

Now if you excuse me, I got to devour a liter of icecream... mmm.

Re:The Bastard Broadcasting Company had a doc on i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431518)

This makes sense! When I'm baked I can taste all kinds of shiz!

Re:The Bastard Broadcasting Company had a doc on i (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432432)

> Our brain needs fat to fuel itself

Wrong. Your brain runs on carbohydrates, not fat.

Now put down the McNuggets and back away slowly.

Re:The Bastard Broadcasting Company had a doc on i (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432434)

I used to believe all that crap about low fat this low fat that, it's everywhere. I've been eating a lot of fatty foods since last September though and I'm still not fat. I do avoid high GI foods though unless I've just been doing heavy exercise. Ice cream is meant to be a good way to get fat because it combines both high sugar and high fat.

Re:Show me the receptors (3, Funny)

pookemon (909195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431266)

"mixed in with nonfat milk to disguise the telltale fat texture"

Perhaps you missed that part of the summary (let alone TFA).

Re:Show me the receptors (1, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431302)

The fact that I included that part in my comment gives indication that I might not have missed it. My point is that the fatty acids still change the physicochemical properties of the milk, and that that might have been what was detected by the test persons. I am not saying that the conclusion is wrong, I am saying that in my opinion this is not enough to establish a new category of taste, taste being defined by specific receptor molecules.

A special category of first post for science (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431534)

In any science story, we will more than likely find a special category of 'first post' comment: the 'I'm smarter than teh science-talking-guys!" first post. These posts always feature a blindingly obvious 'criticism' of the science at hand, usually made by someone with no formal training in the field, that any competent scientist will take into account, but many halfway competent science writers will fail to mention. Thus, to the uninformed, the first poster appears insightful. "Wow! Good call, how could those dumb scientists miss that?!?" Uh, yeah, they didn't. I'm just curious, but what is your background in biology and chemistry? Are you educated on this subject, or are you just one of those people who likes to think they know better than those boneheaded scientist-types?

Just in case I haven't made it crystal clear: you have not thought up anything the scientists did not take into account. I guarantee, you have not come up with a cogent criticism of this experiment, and you are not smarter than the fellows performing this experiment. You are not insightful, and your karma whoring question does not add anything of value to the discussion.

Re:A special category of first post for science (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431646)

To satisfy your curiosity - I have a degree in biochemistry. Not in sensory biochemistry, I worked in the field of protein structure while I was still in academia. My criticism is not so much directed at the scientists doing that experiment, but rather on how it is reported here. I didn't even challenge the validity or the design of the experiment, I was just asking a follow-up question. The barrier to establishing a new category of taste simply is the identification of a receptor for it. The sensory system is complex, so the simple fact that fatty acids are detected does not mean there is a taste category associated with it. You might have noticed that my post was in fact not of the "LOLOLOL dumb scientarst idjots" type, I was just asking the question that any life scientist would ask when seeing this headline - "Is there an actual receptor?".

Re:A special category of first post for science (4, Funny)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431892)

What amazes me is that you were able to RTFS, then follow the link and RTFA, and then follow the link in that article, while still being able to get first post. Absolutely amazing.

Re:A special category of first post for science (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431908)

Really impressive.

I could easily be missing something, but my reading of your reply does not detect an ounce of hostility to the GP.

    Bravo,... you are a gentleman and a scholar!

Re:A special category of first post for science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431972)

well, you have to admit a first post from someone who actually knows a little bit about the subject is a rare event here on /.
You gotta give some credit to the fellow low id slashdotter.

Oh, and you must be new here!

Well mod me down, then! (2)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432180)

Okay, well, ahh, kind of took the wind out of my sails. In my defense, you are probably the first actual knowledgeable Slashdotter to engage in this kind of first-postery.

Re:A special category of first post for science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431964)

On the plus side, he's not nearly as much of an asshole as you.

Re:A special category of first post for science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432312)

He's a biochemist and you just got pwnt. Good one dude. Don't you feel stupid?

Re:A special category of first post for science (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432386)

Actually, yes. Yes I do.

Re:A special category of first post for science (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432444)

The scientists, or their 5 peer-reviewers on the panel assembled by the publisher when it received their submission.

(We can now devolve into a harangue on the talents and diligence of the average peer reviewer...)

Re:Show me the receptors (3, Informative)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431426)

So I've only read the abstract of the paper [cambridge.org] and they really don't claim that fat is "tasted", just that some people are able to detect it and they link that ability to BMI. Whether they are really tasting or just detecting some other physicochemical effect is still unclear. There are a lot of different senses involved when you put something in your mouth. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that fat is a taste, but so far nobody has presented a receptor for it.

Re:Show me the receptors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431610)

There are a lot of different senses involved when you put something in your mouth.

That's what she said.

Re:Show me the receptors (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432536)

Given that the essential problem is that "taste" is a fairly unscientific word, "other physicochemical effect" pretty much fits in.

We do most "tasting" with our olfactory system, not our tongues.

Clearly these guys are saying, specifically, the tongue can detect fat.

It's unquestioned that anyone can "taste" fat using their entire physiochemical food-analysis system, if they aren't so enmired in the fast-food culture that they don't know what something without fat tastes like.

But the question this raises is, can people tell fake fat from real fat? Are gummy fillers never going to be right until someone finds a way to fake-out these taste receptors?

Re:Show me the receptors (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431366)

While your goal of identifying the biologic source of the fat sensors is worthy, human behavior dictates something *must* detect fat content separately from texture. Food scientists have long been able to replicate the texture and mouth feel of fats.

A simple experiment, have three anonymous samples of cow's milk, one each full-fat, 2% and 1%. The vast majority of humans enjoy the 1% the least.
You can vary the beverage or food to take into account cultural tendencies and the results are the same. The lowest fat content is the least popular.

Re:Show me the receptors (1, Offtopic)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431380)

Sure, no question about that. I am just interested how that works.

Re:Show me the receptors (1)

omris (1211900) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432014)

While it will be interesting if and when such receptors are identified, the first logical step (before attempting to screen every single expressed receptor present in taste buds) is to test to see if it is possible to detect very small quantities of fat. If it isn't, you just saved a few million dollars of grant money. Curiosity is great, but don't be impatient. This is still neat.

Re:Show me the receptors (2, Insightful)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431876)

You're right. I'd imagine the fault is not with the original paper, it's in the interpretation of this paper by the popular press. We see this again and again.

the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (2, Informative)

OlRickDawson (648236) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431214)

There is the Calcium [dailymail.co.uk](www.dailymail.co.uk) taste buds which were not listed, and I'm sure there have been others discovered.

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (1)

OlRickDawson (648236) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431334)

The daily mail link is the first one I came across in a Google search. There are many other pages. I should also have said "there are" instead of "There is". I've not had enough sleep to keep from making gramatical errors.

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (2, Interesting)

BKX (5066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431496)

First, did you actually read the article you linked to? It clearly states that they don't believe that we have an extra calcium sensing taste bud, but that our existing taste buds detect calcium as bitter, and therefore people who are sensitive to bitter (and don't like it) tend not to eat enough calcium as a result.

Second, there are probably a whole bunch of tastes we can detect that we don't list as having special taste buds. Picante* comes up high on the list (and is an important consideration in many cuisines). Umami was a taste that many didn't list until just a few years ago but was always a consideration in Asian cuisine (as is picante). Anyone with half a brain could have told you that humans can detect fat content in food by taste. Just go and try the fat free equivalent of a naturally fatty food. It'll taste like ass, precisely because you're not sensing the fat content. They can try to substitute things in to overcome this limitation like extra sugars or textures that mimic the mouthfeel of fat, but they aren't the same as actual fat.

* (This is the Spanish word for the hot kind of spicy. In English this is sometimes called piquant (from French), but that word can also mean spicy in a more general sense (think Christmas spice), and so I like the Spanish word instead. Hot is also a bad word for picante since it can also refer to temperature, and when talking about food, we need to differentiate somehow.)

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (2, Funny)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431840)

Picante has also been described as ALL of your tastebuds being forcibly activated at once in a sort of brute force sort of way as if they had been forced open by crowbars.

So Picante is just gastronomic napalm.

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432544)

Picante has also been described as ALL of your tastebuds being forcibly activated at once in a sort of brute force sort of way as if they had been forced open by crowbars.

I like the imagery... but it leaves out one set of receptors that is triggered by picante: surface pain receptors.

That is, unless you consider pain a taste sensation, in which case my^H^H a dominatrix can give you the best meal you've ever tasted.

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431880)

I may be mistaken, but I think it is generally considered that spicy or picante does not have a flavor receptor and that the picante experience can be attributed to chemicals that cause irritation in our mouths. It's funny to me that in the West we have known of savory foods for thousands of years, and yet many did not pay attention to that realm of cuisine, or at least not attribute the status of flavor to it. It has certainly been used to great affect in almost every culture I can think of! I guess it is new to people, because we did not know of a receptor for it, but then, I think that the 4 flavors theory is relatively new...

PS It is very annoying when you want to describe picante foods and you lose nuance of meaning because of the overlap between hot and spicy. Thanks for pointing out a better word to use to describe that flavor!

"Hot" and "hot" (1)

joh (27088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432258)

In German the equivalent to the English "hot" (in taste) is "scharf" which means literally "sharp" as in "a sharp blade". This is different from the word for high temperature (which is "heiss", meaning again "hot" in English).

I have always found "sharp" to be a fairly usable description of that somewhat painful taste and one that is less likely to be confused with actual temperature than "hot".

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432440)

<quote>PS It <em>is</em> very annoying when you want to describe picante foods and you lose nuance of meaning because of the overlap between hot and spicy. Thanks for pointing out a better word to use to describe that flavor!</quote>

What about... "zippy"? It's an English word, and it makes you seem like a senior citizen!

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (5, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432514)

I may be mistaken, but I think it is generally considered that spicy or picante does not have a flavor receptor and that the picante experience can be attributed to chemicals that cause irritation in our mouths.

Yeah; you probably are mistaken. ;-) For a long time, there has been a bit of a medical mystery about how hot peppers produce a sensation that feels like major heat damage, but medical tests can't detect any actual tissue damage of any sort. This was answered a few years ago by some researchers who determined that the capsaicin chemical that does the job targets specifically the nerve endings that detect heat, and tricks them into sending a false signal to the brain saying "I'm being burned!"

An interesting aspect to this was verification that capsaicin does target specifically mammalian heat sensors, and doesn't work with birds. Anyone who has pet birds is familiar with this. Seed mixtures intended for birds such as parrots usually contain hot peppers, which the birds like. I like to grow my own hot peppers in pots that I bring in during the winter. I have to protect them from our pet conure and cockatiels, because they'll land and the plants and devastate them. When I decide to pick the ripe ones, the conure especially is right there demanding samples of the harvest, which she devours whole.

Further research is needed on the topic, but the hypothesis is that hot peppers evolved their "hot" chemical explicitly to distinguish between mammals and birds. Pepper seeds have a thin, leathery shell which doesn't survive the long, slow digestive system of most mammals. But birds can't afford to carry food around for long; they have a short, powerful digestive system that extracts just the easily-digested stuff and dumps the rest after only a few hours, because it would take more energy to transport it than it contains. The leathery shells of pepper seeds do survive a bird's digestive process. So the hypothesis is that peppers are specifically encouraging birds as seed-transport agents, and discouraging mammals that would digest the seeds.

There's some sort of biological irony in the fact that hot peppers have been spread from their origin (South America) to the rest of the world by a mammal (us). Of course, we can easily do something that's difficult for other mammals: We can dilute the hot pepper enough that it's just a minor (or not so minor) flavor mixed with other flavors, and not overpowering as it is if you eat the pepper alone.

In any case, to be on topic, we should note that the hotness of hot peppers isn't really a "flavor". It's more a case of our heat sensors being tricked by a chemical produced by plants that are trying to prevent us from eating their fruit and digesting their seeds.

Re:the Calcium taste buds weren't listed (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432212)

(This is the Spanish word for the hot kind of spicy. In English this is sometimes called piquant (from French), but that word can also mean spicy in a more general sense (think Christmas spice)

The adjective to describe something with e.g Christmas spice in it in English is "spiced".

I.e. "Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum", as opposed to "Captain Morgan's Spicy Rum" which sounds both scary and awesome. /me considers that he possesses both Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and Tabasco sauce...

Anyway yeah I do like the Spanish 'picante' too for its clarity. I've forgotten most of what little Spanish I ever knew, but I did appreciate how it both seemed to lack extraneous synonyms for everything (though that probably makes poets sad), yet also had separate words for things that are really different enough to be considered homonyms in English.

"Free" is my favorite example... "Software libre" is perfectly clear in Spanish. There's really no need to say "Libre como libertad, no gratis como cerveza".

Protein? (2, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431232)

It took me a few moments that by "protein" they actually mean the so-called "fifth flavor" often referred to by the Japanese word umami "savory".

Re:Protein? (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431280)

That kind of confused me, the umami taste is caused by glutamates which are sometimes found in protein heavy foods but also come from such random places as tomatoes, seaweed or a number of fermented sauces. Protein doesn't really have anything to do with it.

Re:Protein? (3, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431346)

Glutamate is an amino acid that makes up proteins. The receptor recognizes it in its unbound form, not in the form incorporated in proteins, though.

Re:Protein? (2, Interesting)

RManning (544016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432164)

That kind of confused me, the umami taste is caused by glutamates which are sometimes found in protein heavy foods but also come from such random places as tomatoes, seaweed or a number of fermented sauces. Protein doesn't really have anything to do with it.

Actually, it does. All those "random places" you list contain protein. Don't mistake protein and meat.

Re:Protein? (3, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431362)

You mean it took you a few minutes to get to the third sentence in the summary where it said just that?

Re:Protein? (1, Flamebait)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431692)

He clearly attended an American public school. Have mercy, and be glad it was more intelligent at least than "hurk durk football Budweiser muh dick".

Full disclosure: I am a product of American public education. I mean... hurk durk football Budweiser muh dick.

Re:Protein? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432250)

You actually read the summary??

There's something else (3, Funny)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431236)

What the summary doesn't mention is that the BMIs of the sample group were inversely proportional to their ability to sense fat.

Re:There's something else (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431298)

The article actually does mention that (more or less).

Allow me to be the first to diagnosis myself with this horrible disease!

Re:There's something else (2, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431308)

Except of course that most obesity is caused by insulin resistance, which in turn is caused by continual spiking of insulin from increased blood glucose, which in turn is caused by continual consumption of highly-refined carbs. So while fat people certainly eat fatty foods (as does everyone else), the root cause of their obesity is the refined carbs in their diet, not the fat.

No, obesity is caused by being American. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431522)

Don't blame insulin. It didn't choose to be stuck in an American.

Re:There's something else (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431916)

Well, that's just today's obesity which is an effect of the relatively recent demonization of fat.

People ran away from fat and there was sort of a nutritional backlash.

It also didn't help that the inherently unbalanced and politically motivated "new" food pyramid did not account for American eating habits.

Result: "remove fat, replace with refined carbs and no fiber"

Re:There's something else (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431988)

Except of course that most obesity is caused by insulin resistance

The main point of the study is that there seems to be a correlation between obesity and a person's ability to taste fat. You blatantly contradict this with your post. Would you care to cite your sources?

Re:There's something else (3, Insightful)

RManning (544016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432050)

As someone who has gone from obese to quite trim, I can tell you that in my experience obesity is caused by taking in more energy than you burn, period! I cut the amount of calories i take in, and I lose weight. I add calories, I gain. I was never a carb eater, just a "too much" eater. Of course, carbs are really high calorie, so generally cutting calories mean cutting carbs. But, I'm not convinced the type of food is nearly that important.

That's my long winded way of saying: citation needed. :)

Re:There's something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432276)

Except of course that most obesity is caused by insulin resistance, which in turn is caused by continual spiking of insulin from increased blood glucose, which in turn is caused by continual consumption of highly-refined carbs. So while fat people certainly eat fatty foods (as does everyone else), the root cause of their obesity is the refined carbs in their diet, not the fat.

I'm pretty sure obesity is caused by inactivity.

Re:There's something else (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431358)

Actually, I've noticed that when my wife tries to substitute a low-fat ingredient into her baking, she insists it tastes the same and I can always tell. Guess which of us has a higher BMI? Generally my approach is to eat fatty foods less often rather than to eat reduced-fat variants, which just don't satisfy. Except for Cheez-It crackers. For some reason the low-fat version of those tastes better.

Re:There's something else (1)

Jer (18391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431478)

Check the ingredients list on your Cheez-its. Odds are the low-fat ones contain MSG and the regular ones don't.

Re:There's something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431528)

That's just because women are stupid, brah.

Re:There's something else (2, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431588)

Many flavors are soluble in fat, but not water. When creating low fat versions of high fat dishes, you must always adjust the seasoning to account for this.

What about electricity? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431278)

You know... for when you're testing 9 volt batteries.

Re:What about electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431556)

Salty and spicy, yummy.

Re:What about electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431624)

Why the AC post? That shit was funny! Now I gotta go find myself a 9-volt to try that out again...

Re:What about electricity? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431706)

9v battery is for sissies. 12v wall wart is for real men.

Re:What about electricity? (2, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432310)

9v battery is for sissies. 12v wall wart is for real men.

"Real men" know that wall warts don't go flat.

Re:What about electricity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432528)

You use 12v? What a pussy. Try 208V three-phase.

Re:What about electricity? (2, Funny)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431848)

I'm sure the poster would have chosen DC had it been an option. AC was the closest possibility.

Re:What about electricity? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431894)

It was actually a DC post. I've never seen an AC battery.

Re:What about electricity? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432040)

That's a perfectly valid point. I consider our sense of electrical current a different sense, but really. Most people don't even recognize balance and proprioception. They have their arbitrary list of 5 and they're sticking to it.

Savory (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431304)

The PopSci article I read a couple of years ago named "savory" as one of the taste buds' senses. Maybe this is the same as fat sense, since nothing fat-free tastes as good as its fat-...not free counterpart.

Re:Savory (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431354)

Savory is umami.

Re:Savory (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431460)

WHAT did you say about my mommy?!

Ok, I had to look it up [wikipedia.org]. I see what you mean, now. I saw umami in the summary, admittedly didn't RTFA, and thought I'd comment on what I thought was an oversight.

Umami is so fat... (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431670)

Oh, sod it, I'm stumped. You finish the joke.

Re:Umami is so fat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432384)

Umami is so fat, she has her own macronutrient!

Re:Savory (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431462)

No, the savory taste is called umami. It's caused by detecting glutamates (like MSG). This is something different.

Re:Savory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31432240)

... nothing fat-free tastes as good as its fat-...not free counterpart.

The word you are looking for is *fat-proprietary*.

Re:Savory (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432272)

I actually considered fat-enriched, or fat-fortified. Fat-embiggened would have been another possibility.

taste vs smell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431348)

most of what we think we are tasting, we are actually smelling.

are we sure we aren't really just smelling the fat and protein?

last I heard, there really were only 4 tastes. they keep bending the rules to get all the other flavors in there?

Re:taste vs smell (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432072)

No, they added a 5th when they discovered a 5th receptor in the mouth (savory/umami). The classic "4 tastes" are a much older idea than modern bioscience, so you can expect to see some updates.

but why? (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431454)

with all these different taste receptors, why can't i taste my own tongue?

Re:but why? (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431986)

with all these different taste receptors, why can't i taste my own tongue?

You probably do to some extent, but since it is always there your brain doesn't consider it special. An interesting question might be whether you can taste another person tongue, and I guess I should mention just how daft the joke about slashdotters romantic achievements is, before somebody decides to make it in response to my post

Re:but why? (1)

FelixNZ (1426093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432458)

It's just that you're tasting it ALL THE TIME that it isn't detectable any more. For instance, my wife's tongue tastes different :P

Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431552)

I'm anosmic (I have no sense of smell) and constantly have to explain that I can taste more than just salty, sour, bitter, sweet, to people. There's variations on each, as well as protein and fat. I'm fairly certain there's a few other flavors that they haven't figured out as well.

Umami vs. Savory (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431664)

It kind of gets me that we use the word "umami" to describe the (supposedly) newly found taste of proteins (glutamates, etc.) Why can't we anglophones just keep calling that sensation the same as we have for hundreds of years: "savory." I just think it's funny is all :)

Come to think of it, though, maybe it is just this way in America. It seems like we went through a culinary dark ages for a half century, or so, not everywhere, but in a lot of kitchens. Maybe it was the Great Depression or the advent of packaged food... anyway, maybe the flavor fell out of the popular consciousness enough to make us forget about the flavor entirely! But then there's MSG, so I don't know. A very poor substitute for natural glutamates like those found in cheese, Chicken Marsala, parsley, etc.

Re:Umami vs. Savory (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31431996)

Why not let the guy that discovered it name it? He kind of has it coming to him.

It just so happens that this guy is Japanese.

Re:Umami vs. Savory (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432064)

Why can't we anglophones just keep calling that sensation the same as we have for hundreds of years: "savory." I just think it's funny is all :)

Because "savory" is not a direct equivalent to "umami."

Re:Umami vs. Savory (1)

ld a,b (1207022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432378)

Technically it is.
In addition to that, it is cognate with the Japanese word for sweetness, which doesn't make for a very good etymology.
In English, on the other hand, it is a good term that won't be confused with anything else.

Fat is PHAT! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31431984)

Who can't taste fat? What's up with that? Tons better than scat, fat is where it's at! Fat a tat tat!

'Primary' tastes? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432020)

I wonder if taste can ever be broken down into components, like colour/sight can be broken down into three primary colours, or how sound can be broken down into collections of frequencies.

Sweet, bitter, now fat (2, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31432512)

Relieved to see TFA was about tastebuds: When I saw the title I thought somebody had published the story of my life!
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