A sedentary lifestyle, genetics and the increasing popularity of foods that are high in calories, fat and sugar are among the causes of obesity but a new study found another possible cause of weight problems, the inability to taste fat.

In a new study published in the journal Appetite on April 28, researchers from the Deakin University in Australia wanted to find out if the inability to taste fat can have an impact on a person's food intake and satiety. They conducted a fat sensitivity test on 24 individuals and then provided them with breakfast that are high in fat, carbohydrates and protein as well as a buffet-style lunch that allowed them to eat a variety of foods until they become full.

By recording the amount of calories that the participants consumed and their perceived hunger and fullness, the researchers found that the participants who can't taste fat in the foods they eat tend to eat more at lunch even after having a high fat breakfast than the participants who are sensitive to the taste of fat in their food.

"Impaired oral fatty acid chemoreception was associated with excess energy consumption following a high fat meal," the researchers reported of their observation.

Study researcher Russell Keast, from the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at the Deakin University, said that the inability to taste fat can make people feel more hungry and make them more likely to consume more energy even after having a high fat meal and this could cause weight problems as overconsumption of foods particularly foods that are high in fat is known to make people overweight or even obese.

Obesity, which affects about 500 million adults worldwide, is a leading risk factor for a number of diseases including cancer and diabetes. Obese individuals are also at elevated risks of early death. Keast said that the findings of the study show that the ability to taste fat has a role in the development of obesity and addressing this problem could help solve the obesity epidemic.

"Through this latest study we now see that low sensitivity to fat taste impairs the body's ability to register the fullness signals that would normally come from eating fatty foods," Keast said. "The evidence is therefore building that increasing fat taste sensitivity in those who are insensitive is required as one way to address the growing obesity problem."

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