What’s Keeping You from Weight Loss? It Maybe Your Tastebuds

Weight loss is a constant issue that we all struggle with in some point of time. There are various reasons that could be inhibiting you from reaching your weight loss goals, and according to a new study, one such factor could be your tasting ability. Our taste buds are tiny clusters of cells present in the tongue that allow us to perceive various tastes. A new study published in the journal Appetite states that people with a reduced ability to taste food tend to choose sweeter and high calorie foods, which results in weight gain or obesity. A connection between diminished taste and weight gain has long been suspected, but no one had until now researched if losing it affects the food choices we make.
“We found that the more people lost sensitivity to sweetness, the more sugar they wanted in their foods,” said lead author Robin Dando, Assistant Professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The study was carried out on participants whose taste buds were temporarily dulled and they were made to sample foods of varying sugar concentrations. To block the sweet receptors, participants were provided with herbal tea with low, medium and high concentrations of a naturally occurring herb called Gymnema Sylvestre that helps do the job. During the study, participants were asked to add their favoured levels of sweetness to bland concoctions.

The researchers found out that those participants with blocked sweet receptors preferred higher concentration of sugar. “Others have suggested that the overweight may have a reduction in their perceived intensity of taste. So, if an overweight or obese person has a diminished sense of taste, our research shows that they may begin to seek out more intense stimuli to attain a satisfactory level of reward. This can influence their eating habits to compensate for a lower taste response.” explained Dando.

“The gustatory system — that is, the taste system we have, may serve as an important nexus in understanding the development of obesity. With this in mind, taste dysfunction should be considered as a factor,” Dando said.

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