Oral Fatty Acid Hypersensitivity and BMI

July 8/Burwood, Australia/cience Letter -- Data detailed in "Oral Sensitivity to Fatty Acids, Food Consumption and BMI in Human Subjects" have been presented. According to recent research from Burwood, Australia, "Fatty acids are the chemical moieties that are thought to stimulate oral nutrient sensors, which detect the fat content of foods. In animals, oral hypersensitivity to fatty acids is associated with decreased fat intake and body weight."

"The aims of the present study were to investigate oral fatty acid sensitivity, food selection and BMI in human subjects. The study included two parts; study 1 established in 31 subjects (29 (sem 1.4) years, 22.8 (sem 0.5) kg/m2) taste thresholds using 3-AFC (3-Alternate Forced Choice Methodology) for oleic, linoleic and lauric acids, and quantified oral lipase activity. During study 2, 54 subjects (20 (sem 0.3) years, 21.5 (sem 0.4) kg/m2) were screened for oral fatty acid sensitivity using oleic acid (1.4 mm), and they were defined as hypo-or hypersensitive via triplicate triangle tests. Habitual energy and macronutrient intakes were quantified from two-day diet records, and BMI was calculated from height and weight. Subjects also completed a fat ranking task using custard containing varying amounts (0, 2, 6 and 10 %) of fat. Study 1 reported median lipase activity as 2 mumol fatty acids/min per l, and detection thresholds for oleic, linoleic and lauric acids were 2.2 (sem 0.1), 1.5 (sem 0.1) and 2.6 (sem 0.3) mm. Study 2 identified 12 hypersensitive subjects, and hypersensitivity was associated with lower energy and fat intakes, lower BMI (p <0.05) and an increased ability to rank custards based on fat content (p <0.05). Sensitivity to oleic acid was correlated to performance in the fat ranking task (r 0.4, p<0.05)," wrote J.E. Stewart and colleagues, Deakin University.

The researchers concluded, "These data suggest that oral fatty acid hypersensitivity is associated with lower energy and fat intakes and BMI, and it may serve as a factor that influences fat consumption in human subjects."

Stewart and colleagues published their study in The British Journal of Nutrition ("Oral Sensitivity to Fatty Acids, Food Consumption and BMI in Human Subjects." The British Journal of Nutrition, 2010;104(1):145-52).

For additional information, contact J.E. Stewart, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia.

From the July 19, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition