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Quantifying Sweet Taste Liker Phenotypes: Time for Some Consistency in the Classification Criteria

1
School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QH, UK
2
Department of Food Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
3
Sensory Evaluation Center, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010129
Received: 17 December 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Abstract

Taste hedonics is a well-documented driver of food consumption. The role of sweetness in directing ingestive behavior is largely rooted in biology. One can then intuit that individual differences in sweet-liking may constitute an indicator of variations in the susceptibility to diet-related health outcomes. Despite half a century of research on sweet-liking, the best method to identify the distinct responses to sweet taste is still debated. To help resolve this issue, liking and intensity ratings for eight sucrose solutions ranging from 0 to 1 M were collected from 148 young adults (29% men). Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) revealed three response patterns: a sweet-liker (SL) phenotype characterized by a rise in liking as concentration increased, an inverted U-shaped phenotype with maximum liking at 0.25 M, and a sweet-disliker (SD) phenotype characterized by a decline in liking as a function of concentration. Based on sensitivity and specificity analyses, present data suggest the clearest discrimination between phenotypes is seen with 1.0 M sucrose, where a liking rating between −15 and +15 on a −50/+50 scale reliably distinguished individuals with an inverted U-shaped response from the SLs and the SDs. If the efficacy of this approach is confirmed in other populations, the discrimination criteria identified here can serve as the basis for a standard method for classifying sweet taste liker phenotypes in adults. View Full-Text
Keywords: sweet taste; hedonics; sweetness; taste test; individual differences; classification method sweet taste; hedonics; sweetness; taste test; individual differences; classification method
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Iatridi, V.; Hayes, J.E.; Yeomans, M.R. Quantifying Sweet Taste Liker Phenotypes: Time for Some Consistency in the Classification Criteria. Nutrients 2019, 11, 129.

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