Love your food boys? Then Massey University in Auckland needs you! If you are aged between 18 and 50, like yummy food and think your healthy`ish. Read on!

Is it possible to ‘taste’ fat? Researchers from the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University in Albany are about to find out. They are hoping to close the gap between sensory science and metabolic regulation by investigating whether fasting affects the taste of fat, with the ultimate goal of helping people make better, healthier food choices.

“Due to the complex interactions of genetic, biological and psychological factors, the influence of fasting on the relationship between taste perception and metabolic regulators remains to be explored,” says Professor Bernhard Breier, one of the researchers involved with the project. “We will also study the roles of key hormonal regulators on fat taste in a fasting state and after a meal, and the relationship between metabolic body type and fat taste.”

Along with Breier, Dr John Grigor, Dr Michelle Yoo and Wenjing Li (Masters student) are looking for 40 male participants to take part in the study, which will establish if participants can detect the taste of fat, or fatty acid, when it is isolated from the creamy textures that make it so palatable in food. Interestingly the trial is only for men, to eliminate variables that can affect results with women.

The project may also confirm whether humans have a sixth taste – while people experience fat through ‘mouth feel’ or texture, there is no scientific evidence supporting a specific taste for it.

Prospective participants for the study must be healthy, non-smoking and between the ages of 18 and 50; and will be screened for their tasting capacity (either supertaster, normal taster or non-taster). A supertaster is someone who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average, and it is this group that the researchers are after.

As for the project itself, participants will be asked to taste three solutions, each containing varying amounts of a polyunsaturated fatty acid, before and after they have eaten breakfast.

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