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New carbohydrate taste discovered

A new study from Deakin University's Centre of Advanced Sensory Science (CASS) in Victoria, Australia, suggests that there is a separate taste for carbohydrate-rich foods[6]. The research has shown that taste sensitivity to carbohydrates increases intakes of energy and carbohydrates, and leads to a larger waist measurement.

According to lead researcher, Professor Russell Keast, carbohydrates have long been assumed to be invisible to taste. Typically sugar, with its hedonically pleasing sweet taste, is the most sought-after carbohydrate. But this research has shown that there is a perceivable taste quality elicited by other carbohydrates independent of sweet taste.

The research looked at two carbohydrates, maltodextrin and oligofructose, both found in common foods like bread, pasta and rice. Initial testing showed that these carbohydrates could both be sensed in the mouth.

CASS researchers then undertook a study to examine whether sensitivity to the carbohydrates was linked to consumption of starchy foods. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, looked at 34 adults and found significant correlations between sensitivity to these carbohydrates, dietary intake of carbohydrates, the amount of energy consumed and waist measurement. Those who were most sensitive to the carbohydrate taste ate more of these foods and had a larger waist size.

Increased energy intake, in particular greater intakes of energy-dense foods, is thought to be one of the major contributors to the global rise of overweight and obesity and carbohydrates represent a major source of energy in the diet.

Professor Keast’s team had previously named fat as the ‘sixth taste’ and has suggested that carbohydrate could be considered as the seventh ‘taste’. Individuals who are more sensitive to the ‘taste’ of carbohydrate could also have some form of subconscious accelerator that increases carbohydrate or starchy food consumption. Further work is underway to uncover exactly how carbohydrate is linked to consumption of starchy foods.



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