The bad news: it's not quite as good as bacon

Ever wondered what pure fat tastes like? Well it's bitter, irritating and consistently unpalatable, according to new research.


To make matters worse, scientists are calling it oleogustus.


While we've long accepted five primary taste qualities: salty, sweet, bitter, sour and, more recently, umami (meaty or savoury), scientists have recently been claiming there is evidence of a sixth taste: fat.


In February 2015, Australian researchers from Deakin University proposed that fat could be detected by the tongue as a distinct flavour, and new research from Professor Richard Mattes, director of the Ingestive Behaviour Research Centre at Purdue University in Indiana, US, argues that fat has its own taste sensation which differs from other tastes.


“Our experiments provide a missing element in the evidence that fat has a taste sensation, and that it is different from other tastes.


“Identifying the taste of fat has a range of important health implications. At high concentrations, the signal it generates would dissuade the eating of rancid foods.


"But at low levels, it may enhance the appeal of some foods by adding to the overall sensory profile, in the same way that bitterness alone is unpleasant but at appropriate levels adds to the appeal of wine and chocolate," said Professor Mattes, whose research is published in the journal Chemical Senses.


Mattes also argues that fat replacements haven't been as successful as hoped because they don't capture the taste of fat, only the texture. Not only does he hope that identifying the taste will lead to improvements in these, he also believes it could help fight obesity and heart disease.


Fat isn't the only new taste on the block though. In February, kokumi - a combination of Japanese words meaning 'rich' and 'taste' - was discovered in foods like garlic, onion and scallops. 


So there you have it.


Looking for some recipes to tickle your taste buds? Try our summer vegetable lasagne, citrus grilled sea bass with new potato and fennel salad and gluten-free chocolate cherry trifle cake