Fat fighters

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Dr Colette Backwell’s essay on the various programmes to tackle obesity (Friends of The Scotsman, 21 July) appeared on the same day as news of a major medico-scientific breakthrough in the field.

American researchers have discovered a sixth flavour – the taste of fat – which now joins sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami with a unique taste which they named “oleogustus”.

Professor Richard Mattes of Purdue University said the work provided missing evidence that fat has a taste sensation and identifying this has a range of important health implications.

They had found a taste sensation in non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) which are fat’s basic building blocks and this could lead to the creation of improved fat replacements.

It could also lead to new ways of fighting obesity and heart disease because the taste could be manipulated to generate the signal that stops us eating rancid food.

(Dr) John Cameron

St Andrews