Friday, January 20, 2012

Umami, the "sixth sense" of the language

Not only sweet, salty, bitter, sour and tasty, but also "fat." A protein, if lacking, it inhibits the perception

MILAN - There are those who rises from the table satisfied and happy, having enjoyed all the flavors that give us the taste buds, including fat, newcomer between tastes. And some of the high calorie foods is never satisfied, but it would be unfair to label him simply delicious. In fact, the latest study on identifying the "fat" the sixth taste of the language (in addition to salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savory, recently identified) and also speaks of a hypoactive variant of a gene that, in those who have does not allow this sixth sense enough flavor. It makes people fat.

FAT IS LIKE THE SWEET OR SALTED - For centuries it was thought that humans could perceive through the language of four tastes: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Then it was discovered a fifth called umami (savory), and now a study at Washington University School of Medicine adds a sixth: the fat. American scientists have in fact identified a receptor in the taste buds of the chemical language that recognizes the molecules of fat. But a protein, which varies from person to person and who is responsible for metabolizing fat, affects the perception and, if insufficient, this makes it the sixth taste is not ever enough. Contributing to obesity.

RESEARCH - The study, published in the Journal of Lipid Research, involved 21 overweight participants invited to taste three kinds of oil, of which a high lipid content. Finding fat oil has not been easy for all volunteers and experts have been able to see different levels of perception. In addition there is a protein called CD36 deputy to recognize the fat, and if this is lacking, the sensitivity to the fat is reduced, which would explain why there are people that never satisfied the high calorie foods. In particular, scientists have noticed that those that produce higher levels of CD36, compared to those in the middle of the factory, they perceive more easily the presence of fat in foods and feel the exact eight times more.

THE SPIRAL OF FAT - The researcher Nada Abumrad, which together with M. Yanina Pepino led the study, stresses the importance of this insight: "That would explain the obesity and the constant sense of dissatisfaction that affects about 20 percent of the population at the table." Among the volunteers were examined individuals with overactive gene variant, low, or intermediate, but scholars have noted that the diet itself encourages this mechanism and a diet with high levels of lipids inhibits protein production by stimulating the appetite for fat and setting in motion a spiral. American scholars hope that their discovery can be used to combat obesity.

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