Research scientists are continuously working on the existence of any connection between the food composition and amount of food eaten by individuals. The freak finding that the sensitivity of human tongue to fatty acids can vary significantly between individuals will have far reaching implications in man's fight against food gluttony. How far this finding will help nutrition experts to come out with any coherent plan to curb food consumption remains to be seen.
"Now, Jessica Stewart and colleagues from Deakin University in Australia show that a sixth sense, i.e. the ability to orally "sense" the fat content of foods may explain differences in fat preferences. Indeed, previous studies in animals have suggested that oral hypersensitivity to fatty acids (the building blocks of fat) are associated with decreased fat intake and body weight. In the current study, the investigators first examined the taste thresholds for different types of fatty acids (olate, linolate, and laurate) in 31 normal weight subjects and classified them as hypo- or hypersensitive. Subjects also completed a fat ranking task using custard containing varying amounts (0, 2, 6 and 10 %) of fat. Hypersensitive subjects reported lower energy and fat intakes, had an increased ability to rank the custards based on fat content and also had a lower BMI levels. These data suggest that the increased ability to detect nutritional fat may result in lower energy and fat intake, which in turn may result in lower body weights. Obviously, the idea here is that people who are less sensitive to fat are likely to need more fat in their foods to get that same level of enjoyment as people with more sensitive fat receptors. Because of fat's high caloric content, this means that they may in the end also end up with more calories, and thus, weight gain".
There was a recent report about people desperate to lose weight resorting to surgical intervention to stitch patches on their tongues which makes eating a painful experience. So is the bariatric surgery to reduce GI tract volume so that much less food is able to go through the system. If scientists can come up with a suitable method to increase the sensitivity of tongue to fat, it can be a boon to diet watchers.