The study was conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo. They found that obese mice had lower ability to taste sweets when compared to their slimmer peers.
Interestingly, plump mice had fewer taste-buds and those few taste buds could hardly taste sweetness.
A diet high in fat makes people addicted to high-fat food resulting in depression and even changes the brain's circuitry, a study published in International Journal of Obesity had previously reported. The latest study shows that obesity might lead to a decreased tasting ability.
"Studies have shown that obesity can lead to alterations in the brain, as well as the nerves that control the peripheral taste system, but no one had ever looked at the cells on the tongue that make contact with food," said lead scientist Kathryn Medler, PhD, UB associate professor of biological sciences.
The study was based on 50 mice, of which 25 were fed a high-fat diet and 25 were given a normal diet. Researchers looked at "calcium signaling" to detect response of taste-receptors. Calcium levels increase in cells when they detect a particular taste.
The experts found that obese mice had trouble tasting sweet and bitter foods. Both control and study group reacted similarly to umami, a flavor associated with savory or meaty tastes.
"What we see is that even at this level -- at the first step in the taste pathway -- the taste receptor cells themselves are affected by obesity," Medler said in a news release. "The obese mice have fewer taste cells that respond to sweet stimuli, and they don't respond as well."
Medler said it is possible that the inability to taste food could lead to overeating.
The study is published in the journal PLOS One.