Eli5 what exactly makes fat so delicious?


Eli5 what exactly makes fat so delicious?

In: 8

TLDR: Fat melting in our mouth thanks to the body temperature.

Fat is one of the three main macronutrients in our diet, along with carbohydrates and proteins. It is made up of molecules called fatty acids, which come in different lengths and types. When we eat food that contains fat, our bodies break down the fatty acids and use them for energy or to build new cells.

But why do we find fat so delicious? One reason is that it has a unique mouthfeel and texture. When we eat fatty foods like cheese or butter, they tend to feel creamy and rich in our mouths. This is because fat has a lower melting point than other parts of the food, so it melts at body temperature and spreads over our tongues and other taste receptors.

In addition to the texture, fat also adds flavor to food. This is because fatty acids are able to dissolve and carry other flavor compounds, making them more potent and appealing to our taste buds. For example, the aroma of grilled meat or the sweet fragrance of baked goods is often due to the presence of fat.

Moreover, studies have shown that our brains are wired to enjoy the taste of fat. When we eat fatty foods, our brains release chemicals called endocannabinoids that give us a sense of pleasure and reward. This is why we might crave fatty foods even when we’re not hungry.

However, it’s important to remember that not all fats are created equal. Some types of fat, such as unsaturated fats found in nuts and fish, can actually be beneficial to our health. On the other hand, consuming too much saturated and trans fats, found in fried foods and processed snacks, can increase our risk of heart disease and other health problems.

So while fat may be delicious, it’s important to consume it in moderation and choose healthier sources whenever possible.

Fat carries flavor. Pure fat, like vegetable oil or shortening, is actually kind of unpleasant to eat. But many of the aromatic compounds that make food taste good or interesting can be easily stored in fat. This is why, for example, garlic butter will do a better job flavoring a dish than just tossing some garlic into the pot. (Even when you do cook with fresh garlic, the standard procedure is to first sauté it in oil. Why? So the oil picks up the garlic flavor). On top of this, fat is very good at coating our mouths, giving a more intense and longer-lasting experience of those flavors.

Especially when it comes to animal products, it might even be more accurate to say that “fat *is* flavor.” The aromatics that make beef taste distinct from pork, for example, are mostly contained in the fats of those animals.

Evolution. Fat is the most calorie dense food, so any organism that likes fat is much more likely to eat it, get more calories, and survive times of scarcity. Over time, that results in basically every creature that’s capable of metabolizing fat finding it delicious.

Too much fat is bad for you but that’s a *very* recent development…for essentially all of history (and still only for a small fraction of the world today) calorie deficit is far more likely to kill you than calorie excess. There hasn’t been enough time for this to evolve back out.

It is because it is energy dense. Technically that is why it tastes good, what makes is taste good is the way it stimulates taste buds, the sensor of smell, and another sensory system, and our brains iteration of that stimuli

Humans and our ancestors have evolved in an environment where starvation and not getting overweight have been the primary cause of harm to use.

The one that likes and therefore preferred to eat and look for energy-dense food has a low risk of dying of starvation. So they passed on their genres to their decadence. Over time the taste becomes that we liked energy densed stuff.

It is in the 19th century that you had food manufacturing and cost in combination with changes in what we do for work that has resulted in being overweight is a problem for a large number of people in the developed world. But even today for the majority of humans starvation is still of more concern. So there have not been enough time of any change away from linking energy-dense food.

Because it’s full of the chemical precursors you need to make hormones, nerves cells, and connective tissue.