Looks Like There’s A New Sense Of Taste…And It’s For Carbs

It looks like research has revealed a new sense of taste in humans, and it’s for — you guessed it — carbs.

Until now, the consensus was that humans couldn’t detect the taste of carbs. The notion was that because carbs break down so rapidly, only a sweet taste was left over from the sugar molecules that make them up. So when we taste carbs, previous research suggested we only taste sweet. (source)

Well break out the whiteout and the textbooks, because it looks like a fair bit of revision is in order.

If you’re of a certain age, this will mark the second time we’ve changed our understanding of human sense of taste. Seven years ago, there was the Umami revolution. And there are hints of more revisions to come. Fat, it turns out, might be more than just a flavor amplifier…it very well may be a taste unto its own. And then there is Calcium, carbonation, the metal taste in blood, amino acids, kokumi and who knows what else.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive, check out the primary source in Chemical Sense: Humans Can Taste Glucose Oligomers Independent of the hT1R2/hT1R3 Sweet Taste Receptor.

2 Responses to “Looks Like There’s A New Sense Of Taste…And It’s For Carbs”

  1. Katherine

    As a congenital anosmic (someone born without any sense of smell), my taste perception seems to be quite different from what the majority experience. I don’t believe that I have an unusual sense of taste at all but there are all sorts of subtleties that go far beyond what has been identified (by those darn non-anomics) as the basic tastes, whether that’s 5 or slightly more or even many more. So I think “they” have a long ways to go to parse what I’m aware of. I have never smelled food but I have great enjoyment tasting food, and also many foods I can’t stand. It’s more challenging to create meals that are flavorful but not so hard.

  2. Correctrix

    Of course we can taste carbs.

    You seem to be using “carbs” to mean “starch”.


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