PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, THE
Fat is a critical, highly preferred macronutrient and one of the major contributing factors to the current obesity epidemic. Although reducing the percentage of fat in the American diet is a high priority, this effort has been hindered by our poor understanding of fats sensory and rewarding properties. An appreciation for the central basis of oil reward awaits a better understanding of the sensory basis of fat and oil perception. Detection, discrimination, and even the appeal of fats and oils have been presumed to be within the purview of the somatosensory system, but the recent finding that fatty acids activate taste receptor cells suggests that the gustatory system plays a role as well.