Nope, not Umami.

By Erika Owen
September 07, 2016
Starch New Taste Classification
Credit: Davide Ragusa

Just when you were getting all settled with the five tastes we already have—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami—scientists have a new one to throw on the pile.

Researchers at Oregon State University want to add “starchy” to the list, a taste we can all call to memory at the mere mention of the word.

This is much more than just identifying a taste that people can comprehend. As explained in the study, scientists previously believed that taste was unable to identify complex carbohydrates. This thought was mainly thanks to the science that our saliva breaks down these starchy carbs into sugar.

But why wouldn't we be able to taste something that we're eating? This is the point Juyun Lim was going for with the study.

Lim discovered that many subjects could identify a “floury” flavor. But that doesn't mean starchy gets a green-light. There are criterion to becoming a full-fledged taste, one of them being that it must be deemed “useful” to humans.

Only time will tell if this newcomer actually makes it on the list. Until then, we'll keep contemplating why our tastes get all messed up on airplanes.

Erika Owen is the Senior Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.