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Studies: Impaired taste due to being overweight motivates to eat more


Study on the cycle of obesity

In a recent study, food scientists from Cornell University in the US state of New York have shown a connection between obesity and taste sensation. Apparently, weight gain can go hand in hand with a loss of a quarter of the taste buds. This in turn leads to increased food intake. The research results are essentially:

  • Mice that are fed a high-fat diet lose almost 25 percent of their taste buds.
  • A metabolic disorder caused by obesity encourages the animals to eat even more.
  • This is also a potential mechanism for weight gain in humans.
  • A reduced sense of taste often results in an increased calorie intake.

Andrew Kaufman's research team at Cornell University carried out animal experiments on mice that were fed a high-fat diet. It was shown that the unhealthy diet led to a loss of almost 25 percent of the taste buds. Obesity apparently triggered a metabolic disorder, which led the animals to eat more food. The results were recently published in the specialist journal "Plos Biology".

The same mechanism is also conceivable in humans

"This is also a potential mechanism in humans to put on fat," reports one of the main authors of the study, Robin Dando, professor of food science, in a press release on the study results. Evidence would suggest that obesity resulting from an unhealthy diet leads to a strong metabolic inflammatory response.

Inflammatory reaction leads to the loss of taste buds

"In mice, this reaction disrupts the balance of taste bud formation and reduces the number of mature taste buds," says Dando. Research provides new clues as to how people become obese. With their work, the researchers hope to establish a new approach to combating obesity that focuses on taste buds.

Taste buds and weight gain are related

The researchers carried out series of experiments on two groups of mice. One group was resistant to obesity. Both groups received the same fatty food. While the normal mice increased 30 percent of their original weight, the weight of the resistant mice only increased slightly. There were also clear differences in the abundance of taste buds. The normal mice lost 25 percent while the resistant mice showed no changes.

Fat causes a metabolic reaction

The researchers strongly believe that the loss of taste buds is a metabolic response to obesity, which is triggered when the body has made too much fat. The experts compared to overweight people who reported a weakened sense of taste. The weakened sense of taste in turn leads to an increased intake of calories.

Bad sense of taste leads to increased calorie intake

"If obese people experience the same taste loss as mice, it is plausible that these people are being driven to eat more, or at least an intensely tasting, version of everything," concludes Dando.

The vicious cycle of obesity

A normal tongue has about 10,000 taste buds, the cells of which are renewed once or twice a month. The state of obesity weakens this metabolism and reduces the renewal process and the number of taste buds. This mechanism could lead to people being kept on an obesity cycle, scientists conclude. (vb)

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