Feel like dinner has lost some ground? If you’ve gained weight, this could be it.
Researchers have long known that if you’re obese, you’re walking around in a chronic state of low-grade inflammation. And a recent study has added more to the page.
To come up with their findings, scientists fed mice two different diets; one was ‘normal’ and made up of 14% fat. The second diet contained considerably more fat, clocking in at 58%.
After 8 weeks on the diets, those mice eating a lot of fat had gained weight, unsurprisingly. These mice were about one-third heavier than their counterparts. But there was also another significant difference, researchers noted. The obese mice had actually lost taste buds. They had about 25% fewer buds than the mice of normal weight.
How is this possible? Scientists aren’t entirely sure why taste buds disappear when you gain weight. They do know how they’re generated in the first place, however.
Apparently, taste buds have a short lifespan of about just 10 days. Your body regenerates them quickly, so you can sense the five primary tastes. Each bud consists of 50 to 100 cells that allow you to either sense salty, sweet, bitter, sour or umami tastes.
Some mice- and perhaps people- are actually genetically resistant to becoming obese. They don’t produce something called TNF-alpha, which is an inflammatory response that normally goes up in your body when you gain a lot of weight.
In the study, the mice who displayed this resistance did gain weight but they didn’t lose their taste buds.
The take-away? According to researchers, somehow it’s the inflammation caused by obesity that takes away your sense of taste, at least for most individuals.
Cut back on the salt, sugar and fat in your diet and the celery and that apple salad might taste better. It could be worth experimenting.
Photo credit: Vladimir Gjorgiev/Shutterstock