The more you taste, the more on your waist

Can you taste carbohydrates? Beware, they may end up on your waist

The more you taste, the more on your waist

Turns out some people can detect carbohydrates as a particular taste. Now it seems this ability may be linked to larger waist sizes.

Last year, a study reported that humans can actually taste carbohydrates. The new taste, considered our 'seventh taste' was described by some people as starchy, rice- or bread-.

Now, a new study shows that the ability to detect this new taste has important health implications. For example, it may explain why some of us enjoy bingeing on foods rice, bread or pasta. Most importantly, this study shows how carb cravings could impact our health.

A starchy tooth?

In this new study, Professor Russell Keast and his team at Deakin University focused on maltodextrin and oligofructose. These two carbohydrates are commonly found in staple foods bread, pasta and rice.

Previous research by Dr Julia Low, who is part of Russell's team, found that people were able to sense these two carbohydrates. They also found that some people were more sensitive than others in detecting them.

With this in mind, Russell wanted to find out if people's sensitivity to carbohydrates was associated with their consumption of starchy foods.

After looking at the carbohydrate sensitivities, eating habits and health measurements of 34 individuals, Russell found a clue. “Those who were most sensitive to the carbohydrate taste ate more of these foods and had a larger waist,” Julia says.

Looking at participants' waist measurements was even more revealing! “We specifically looked at waist measurements as they are a good measure of the risk of dietary-related diseases,” Russell adds.

The team found a difference of more than 10cm in waist circumference between people with high versus low carbs sensitivity.

So what does this mean? Well, the findings show that people's poor eating habits may be more complicated than previously thought.

Helping with a global problem

All around the world, dietary-related conditions obesity or cardiovascular diseases are affecting millions of people. “Greater intake of energy-dense foods is thought to be one of the major contributors to the global rise of overweight and obesity,” Russell says.

And guess what is a major source of these energy-packed foods. Yes, carbohydrates.

But why is it that some people more than others crave certain food types carbohydrates or fats? We don't really know for sure, but the findings of this new study show that it is not just about people making bad decisions.

“Individuals who are more sensitive to the taste of carbohydrates also have some form of subconscious accelerator that increases carbohydrate or starchy food consumption,” Russell says.

More research is needed to figure out how carbohydrate sensitivity influences food consumption, but at least now you are a bit wiser.

So next time you feel nibbling an extra bite of that tasty bread, remember that is just your tongue doing the talking!

This article first appeared on Particle, a science news website based at Scitech, Perth, Australia. Read the original article.

Citation: Can you taste carbohydrates? Beware, they may end up on your waist (2017, November 20) retrieved 30 March 2020 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.


Nourish Your Body While Entertaining Your Palate

The more you taste, the more on your waist

“Eat for nutrition not for taste.” According to 101-year-old Ida Keening, that’s one of her secrets to longevity. Wait.

What? Recognizing that Ida just set a world record for the 100-meter dash in her age group, I feel I should reflect on her experience and wisdom. Eating is pleasurable, as it should be, by my philosophy.

As an experienced eater, you must wonder if Ida’s strategy is even worth the payoff. Is Ida right?  Does optimal nutrition and longevity equal a tasteless, unsatisfying menu?

Define pleasurable eating by your standards. For me, it represents nourishing my body while entertaining my palate. With all due respect to the inspirational and accomplished Ida Keening, I need nutrition and taste! I want to have my cake and eat it too, so to speak.

Weight and Longevity
A healthy weight is a major predictor of longevity. When dieters think about weight loss, many anticipate dining options void of flavor, aroma and texture. We also know that most dieters do not achieve goal weight. Weight loss is not for the faint of heart. After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Sustainable, significant weight loss, defined by a minimum of 25 pounds, requires a symphony of mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, digestion, support, scheduling and sometimes pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. Putting all those components together to yield results is already a challenge.

If you take away taste, then you’ve got an additional obstacle to overcome. 

Embrace Taste
Taste, smell, touch, sight, sound. Those senses can be tantalized through cooking and eating, and finding moments of pleasure through food helps offset our daily stresses while fueling our activities.

It’s no wonder why many of us have a few pounds to lose. Food can be an entertaining respite. Thankfully, you don’t have to let go of flavor to lose weight. Weight loss is sometimes described as a journey, but you are striving for the destination.

Embrace taste to cross the weight-loss finish line.

Mindful Eating
I wish embracing taste meant that you could actually have the aforementioned cake.

Sure, fad diets the infamous cookie diet can work for a few days, but for many of us, sweet confection and other processed foods are a triggers.

These foods can stimulate irresistible cravings which can sabotage our well-intended meal plans. To choose a tasty approach to long-term weight loss, we need to evolve our palates to enjoy new flavors.

Adding new incredible flavor combinations make the weight loss journey less about deprivation and more about reacquainting with our senses. Connect with your taste buds. Satisfy your human drive and experience food in a way that is stimulating.

Engage your mind in the activity of eating by immersing yourself in taste. Mindful eaters are aware of hunger, but also of the entire experience of eating.

Shifting perspective to embrace taste alleviates many obstacles in weight loss as the palate evolves. 

Evolve your Palate
We choose convenient food sources to support our incredibly busy modern lives, and the food business competes for a market share of your stomach. Convenience food is often laden with salt to open your taste buds, fat to lube food morsels and sugar to melt in your mouth.

It’s easy to overeat with big business guiding your palate. Learning to cook healthfully is one way to overcome the lure of prepackaged or restaurant foods. If learning to cook seems an overwhelming task, as it does with so many busy people, learn to assemble quick, fabulous meals with strategically prepped ingredients.

This is a process, so expect your palate to evolve as you learn new techniques in the kitchen.  For example, you might turn up your nose to hearty greens now, but with the right approach, you could find yourself salivating with anticipation as you consider a fresh salad.

Expect a dramatic transformation as you shift your palate to the finest nature has to offer.

So, was Ida wrong? As far as I’m concerned, a 101-year-old runner can do no wrong. I see her point. We don’t want to eat for taste if you prefer fatty, salty, sugary foods. For those seeking weight loss, it’s harder to stay on track when deprived of pleasure. So, try a positive spin on cutting back. Experience a shift in mindful eating driven by sensation. 

Beginner Palate – 5 min prep 

Iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing and cheese 

Phase 2 Palate – 2 min prep

Cucumber, a red bell pepper and plain Greek yogurt (6-ounce container)

Just slice and dip! No measuring, no unhealthy foods and no drive through window.

Phase 3 Palate – 5 min prep

Spinach and garbanzo beans

Eyeball 2 cups of spinach, ½ cup garbanzo beans, ½ cup bell peppers, olives and put a small sprinkle of feta in a small container from the salad bar. When you get home, throw the ingredients in a warm pan with a teaspoon of olive oil, squeezable basil paste, parsley paste, dried herbs de province, salt and pepper. When warm and wilted, toss in the feta and voila!

 Phase 4 Palate – 5 min prep

An emerging foodie could take this simple meal to an even more exciting place by using green lentils, local rainbow chard, fresh herbs basil and lemon thyme, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, fresh lemon juice or even a splash of dry white wine, sardines, and salt and pepper over a warm skillet just until the chard wilts slightly.