Is Craving Fat in Your Genes?

Most of us know that the tongue easily picks up sweet, salty and bitter tastes ... but fat? It’s possible.

Posted on | Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD | Comments ()

Most of us know that the tongue easily picks up sweet, salty and bitter tastes ... but fat? It’s possible.

New research out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that certain individuals (those that have a variant of the CD36 gene) have more receptors on the tongue for fat than others. Individuals with the variant in the CD36 gene have an enhanced sensitivity on the tongue which permits them to get their fat "fix" quicker and easier. Consequently, those without the gene variant have a less-sensitivite tongue and need more fat to satisfy their cravings.

Now, many of you may be thinking, "That's me!” I must have less fat receptors on my tongue, which is why I crave fatty foods!" Not so fast. Let's remember that fat still has 9 calories per gram. Even though there are plenty of healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids, they should still be consumed in moderation.

The take-away here: Regardless of what your genes are dictating on your tongue, take a moment and take control of the situation by choosing healthy fats in moderate amounts!

Blog written by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD
Kristin Kirkpatrick is a registered dietitian and Wellness Manager for Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program. Kristin has...