Saltiness, sweetness, sourness, bitterness, umami … And starchiness? Scientists say they’ve found a sixth taste, according to a new study.

“I believe that’s why people prefer complex carbs,” said lead researcher Juyun Lim from Washington State University. “Sugar tastes great in the short term, but if you’re offered chocolate and bread, you might eat a small amount of the chocolate, but you’d choose the bread in larger amounts, or as a daily staple.”

Lim and her team gathered 22 subjects, and had them sample a bunch of different solutions made up of different levels of carbohydrates. The subjects were asked to rate how each tasted.

“They called the taste ‘starchy,’” Lim said. “Asians would say it was rice-like, while Caucasians described it as bread-like or pasta-like. It’s like eating flour.”

Before this research, scientists always assumed that we were experiencing a sweet taste when eating carbs. This is caused by enzymes from starch, which our mouths break down into simple sugars.

"Every culture has a major source of complex carbohydrate. The idea that we can’t taste what we’re eating doesn’t make sense," Lim explained.

Carbohydrates are the fruits, vegetables, sugars, breads, and pastas that provide your body with the energy it needs to function properly. So why do they get a bad rep? When you overeat them, the body starts storing most of the calories from the carbs instead of burning them off for energy. Refined carbs, which are the white breads and pastries dieters label the enemy, are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, converted into energy, and carried into the correct cells by the hormone insulin.

Want to stay healthy and explore your newly-discovered taste? We’ve listed 20 starches to sample that are actually good for you, according to Ann Kulze MD.





Winter squashes — like butternut, acorn, kabocha, and pumpkin

Whole grains — including quinoa, brown rice, barley, bulgur and oatmeal

Whole wheat or multigrain pasta

Root vegetables — like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and yams

Read more:

How To Eat Carbs And Still Lose Weight: Resistant Starch Foods Improve Gut Bacteria

A Healthy Meal: Cooking And Cooling Pasta Changes Starch Quality To Cut Calories, Fat