What are the five major taste receptors?

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You already know about four of your major taste receptors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty. But there's another-one that delivers deliciousness-called unami (sounds like tsunami).

Unami is why we crave foods; it's literally why some foods make you salivate more than a 14-year-old boy with the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. And it's partly what creates a dietary tug of war in your body.

Your tongue wants to eat certain foods-foods that have lots of taste and energy-even though your body may not have a place for all that energy to go. It's important to note here that fat is a learned taste. Sweet, sour, bitter, and salty are inherited tastes, so you either like them or don't like them depending on what your genes tell you. But fat is an acquired taste. That means you can also learn how not to like fat.

For example, if you're drinking whole-fat milk, you can wean yourself to skim milk by gradually diluting whole milk. The training phenomenon only takes eight weeks. Taste buds can also play tricks on you and make you think you have a problem when you really don't. Part of the way taste buds work is through expectations. When you eat something that's salty and you weren't expecting it, it shocks you. And that can happen with all kinds of food if you're not expecting them to taste the way they do-which is really a matter of taste, rather than something destructive going on in your digestive system.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.