Preference for dietary fat: From detection to disease

Prog Lipid Res. 2020 Apr;78:101032. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2020.101032. Epub 2020 Apr 25.


Recent advances in the field of taste physiology have clarified the role of different basic taste modalities and their implications in health and disease and proposed emphatically that there might be a distinct cue for oro-sensory detection of dietary long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). Hence, fat taste can be categorized as a taste modality. During mastication, LCFAs activate tongue lipid sensors like CD36 and GPR120 triggering identical signaling pathways as the basic taste qualities do; however, the physico-chemical perception of fat is not as distinct as sweet or bitter or other taste sensations. The question arises whether "fat taste" is a basic or "alimentary" taste. There is compelling evidence that fat-rich dietary intervention modulates fat taste perception where an increase or a decrease in lipid contents in the diet results, respectively, in downregulation or upregulation of fat taste sensitivity. Evidently, a decrease in oro-sensory detection of LCFAs leads to high fat intake and, consequently, to obesity. In this article, we discuss recent relevant advances made in the field of fat taste physiology with regard to dietary fat preference and lipid sensors that can be the target of anti-obesity strategies.

Keywords: CD36; Fat taste; Fatty acids; GPR120; Lipids; Microbiota; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Taste Perception*
  • Taste*


  • Dietary Fats