According to research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), there are significant differences between obese and lean men in how they respond to the taste of fat.

It was found that fat is also less effective in stimulating specific gut hormones released in the bloodstream to suppress appetite in obese men.

The study, lead by Professor Christine Feinle-Bisset from the University of Adelaide involved asking lean and obese men to sip drinks with small amounts of fat and indicate if they could taste the fat.

The bood levels of a hormone, which is released from the gut when fat is consumed, are then measured by the researchers.

We found that being obess was associated with a reduced ability to detect fat taste, and with reduced release of an appetite-suppressing gut hormone, said Dr Feinle-Bisset.

The findings are crucial for researchers in their understanding of the reason why some obese individuals are more incline to consume a high-fat diet than their lean counterparts.

Dr Feinle-Bisset said it is not yet possible to determine whether reduced responsiveness to the taste of fat or reduced gut hormone release triggers over-consumption of fat, or whether eating a high-fat diet impairs taste and hormonal responses to fat.

Studies are being performed by her team of scientists to solve the dillema by determining whether consumption of high-fat diet over a period of time can cause similar effects in lean individuals, and also whether low-fat weight loss die can improve the ability to taste fat and produce gut hormones when fat is consumed.