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Open AccessArticle

Diurnal Variation of Sweet Taste Recognition Thresholds Is Absent in Overweight and Obese Humans

Section of Oral Neuroscience, Graduate School of Dental Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
Division of Sensory Physiology, Research & Development Center for Taste and Odor Sensing, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
Department of Medicine and Bioregulatory Science, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, School of Medicine, Kurume University, Fukuoka 830-0011, Japan
Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(3), 297;
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumption of Sugar and Impact on Overweight)
Sweet taste thresholds are positively related to plasma leptin levels in normal weight humans: both show parallel diurnal variations and associations with postprandial glucose and insulin rises. Here, we tested whether this relationship also exists in overweight and obese (OW/Ob) individuals with hyperleptinemia. We tested 36 Japanese OW/Ob subjects (body mass index (BMI) > 25 kg/m2) for recognition thresholds for various taste stimuli at seven different time points from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. using the staircase methodology, and measured plasma leptin, insulin, and blood glucose levels before each taste threshold measurement. We also used the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) to evaluate insulin resistance. The results demonstrated that, unlike normal weight subjects, OW/Ob subjects showed no significant diurnal variations in the recognition thresholds for sweet stimuli but exhibited negative associations between the diurnal variations of both leptin and sweet recognition thresholds and the HOMA-IR scores. These findings suggest that in OW/Ob subjects, the basal leptin levels (~20 ng/mL) may already exceed leptin’s effective concentration for the modulation of sweet sensitivity and that this leptin resistance-based attenuation of the diurnal variations of the sweet taste recognition thresholds may also be indirectly linked to insulin resistance in OW/Ob subjects. View Full-Text
Keywords: obesity; taste; leptin; insulin resistance; human obesity; taste; leptin; insulin resistance; human
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Sanematsu, K.; Nakamura, Y.; Nomura, M.; Shigemura, N.; Ninomiya, Y. Diurnal Variation of Sweet Taste Recognition Thresholds Is Absent in Overweight and Obese Humans. Nutrients 2018, 10, 297.

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