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Diet and satiety

Saturday, 20 August 2011

New Australian research has suggested that just four weeks of consuming a diet high in fat can modify a person's palate, so that you are less able to taste fat properly- which means you may not be able to recognize when you are full and satisfied.

Response to fat helps the body to recognize fullness and satiety. Basically, the more fat you consume on a regular basis, the more likely you are to overeat at meals and feel urges to eat in between. The good news is, eating a diet low in fat can over time actually make you feel more full on fewer calories.

The study, lead by Deakin University sensory science lecturer Russell Keast and published in the International Journal of Obesity, put overweight and average-weight subjects on a high-fat diet. While people with a healthy weight who were fed the diet began to lose their ability to taste fat, overweight people experienced no changes.

“The response to fat is important because fat is a very potent indicator of the satiety or fullness mechanisms we get,” Professor Keast explains. "If you don't have something telling you that you are full or it is time to stop eating, you are going to keep eating more or initiate another eating event sooner."

The study also showed that while the ability to detect fat could be quickly lost, it could also be regained equally as quickly after switching to a low-fat diet. When overweight and average-weight people were fed a low-fat diet, both groups increased their ability to tell when the fat content was increased by the addition of otherwise undetectable oleic acid.

Professor Keast, along with researchers at the CSIRO, will now try to identify what proportion of the ability to taste fat was genetic and what proportion was related to diet.

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