Chew on this. A recent study shows that packing on some extra pounds can seriously mess with your sense of taste. Yes, regularly eat too much and your taste buds become less effective.
Researchers at Cornell University set out to find out why this is the case. They fed mice high-fat diets, which led to weight gain, then examined their tongues. When compared to a control group of mice which was fed a normal diet, the obese mice had 25% less taste buds present. Their taste buds were quicker to mature and die off, and were resupplied at a slower rate.
The scientists think that weight gain can cause inflammation that can interrupt the regeneration of taste buds, meaning fewer are present at any given time. Results were published in the journal PLOS Biology.
So how does this translate in humans?
Of course, individuals naturally have differences when it comes to flavor detection. But if you’re overweight, the decreased ability to taste means you might try to compensate for less flavor eating more or fattier foods.
More research is needed to confirm this theory, but it would help shed some light on a lesser-understood side effects of weight gain. In the future, it could help people better understand and fight obesity.
Food scientist, Robin Dando, whose lab led the study, told the Associated Press, “This could be a whole new kind of target in treating obesity. People don’t really look at the taste bud, but it’s so fundamental.”
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