Obesity linked to loss of taste buds in new research

Long Lunch 04/04/2018
Photo: Getty.

Obesity can play a role in one’s ability to taste, new research suggests.

Researchers at Cornell University fed mice a high-fat diet that caused rapid weight gain, and then checked the number of taste buds on the mice’s tongues.

Turns out that a high-fat diet, at least for mice, can make taste buds literally disappear from their tongues.

Robin Dando, assistant professor from Cornell University joined Wendyl Nissen to discuss the latest research.

“If we look at the density of the taste buds on their tongue, they just seem to be disappearing,” he told RadioLIVE.

He explained that the taste buds are disappearing “after only a short time” the mice are given the high-fat diet.

The obese mice also lost 25 percent of their taste buds compared to the mice fed a normal diet.

The food scientist pointed out that a human study suggested that those who have a dulled sense of taste tend to reach for foods that pack even more flavour, such as sugary foods.

So someone who loses weight may still have to fight the urge to compensate for their loss in taste buds with unhealthy foods.

However, Mr Dando assured Wendyl that with a little more research, their team will likely find ways to fight the loss of taste. 

Listen to the full interview with Robin Dando above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.