via iflscience : Science. Tackling the big questions in life. Who are we? What are we? Where do we come from? Does higher fat ice cream actually taste better? Wait, what?
A new study has discovered that the assumption that higher fat content equals better taste is not actually true. In fact, when it comes to the creamy deliciousness of a certain frozen treat, humans generally can’t taste a difference in fat content.
The study, from Penn State’s Department of Food Science, looked at whether people could detect a difference in fat levels of vanilla ice cream based purely on taste. Their results are published in the wonderfully specific Journal of Dairy Science.
“I think the most important finding in our study was that there were no differences in consumer acceptability when changing fat content within a certain range,” said Laura Rolon, lead author of the study, in a statement. “There is a preconception of ‘more fat is better,’ but we did not see it within our study.”
There will, of course, be some people who read this, roll their eyes and ask “Is this what science is wasting its time on?”
But establishing taste limitations actually has important implications, from furthering our understanding of the human body to preventing unscrupulous marketing strategies from using untruths to sell food products to even lowering the production cost of what many would try and claim is an essential food.
“I think this [study] shows how interdisciplinary and translational food science is,” co-author John Hayes, associate professor of food science at Penn State, said. “You take a physical chemist, a behavioral scientist and someone who knows ice cream processing and put us all together and you can investigate questions like these.”