Special Issue "Taste, Nutrition and Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Beverly J. Tepper
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Food Science Department, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA
Interests: Taste perception; Aroma perception; Flavor perception; Taste genetics; Hedonics Food intake regulation; Food choice; Eating attitudes; Body weight
Prof. Dr. Iole Tomassini Barbarossa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari CA, Italy
Interests: taste perception; PROP tasting; individual differences; taste perception modulation; electrophysiological recordings; taste; body composition; nutrition; health
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sensation of flavour reflects the complex integration of aroma, taste, texture and chemesthetic (oral and nasal irritation cues) from a food or food component. Flavour is major determinant of food palatability - the extent to which a food is accepted or rejected - and can profoundly influence diet selection, nutrition and health. Despite recent progress, there are still gaps in knowledge on how taste and flavour cues are sensed at the periphery and conveyed to and interpreted by the brain. Obtaining a critical understanding of these processes could shed important light on appetite regulation and eating behaviours. Individual differences in sensory perceptions are also well known and can arise from genetic variation, environmental causes or a variety of metabolic diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome or cancer. Genetic taste/smell variation could also predispose individuals to these same diseases. Recent findings have also opened new avenues of inquiry suggesting that fatty acids and carbohydrates may provide nutrient-specific signals informing the gut and brain of the nature of the ingested nutrients. For this special issue on ‘Taste, Nutrition and Health’ we invite original research communications and comprehensive reviews directly linking taste measures (broadly defined as any component of ‘flavour’ perception) with nutrition and/or health outcomes.

Prof. Beverly J. Tepper
Prof. Dr. Iole Tomassini Barbarossa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Central taste/aroma processing
  • Oral sensations
  • Genetic variation in taste/smell
  • Texture and oral processing
  • Hedonics
  • Eating behavior
  • Adiposity/obesity

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Taste, Nutrition, and Health
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010155 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1918
Abstract
The sensation of flavour reflects the complex integration of aroma, taste, texture, and chemesthetic (oral and nasal irritation cues) from a food or food component. Flavour is a major determinant of food palatability—the extent to which a food is accepted or rejected—and can [...] Read more.
The sensation of flavour reflects the complex integration of aroma, taste, texture, and chemesthetic (oral and nasal irritation cues) from a food or food component. Flavour is a major determinant of food palatability—the extent to which a food is accepted or rejected—and can profoundly influence diet selection, nutrition, and health. Despite recent progress, there are still gaps in knowledge on how taste and flavour cues are detected at the periphery, conveyed by the brainstem to higher cortical levels and then interpreted as a conscious sensation. Taste signals are also projected to central feeding centers where they can regulate hunger and fullness. Individual differences in sensory perceptions are also well known and can arise from genetic variation, environmental causes, or a variety of metabolic diseases, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. Genetic taste/smell variation could predispose individuals to these same diseases. Recent findings have also opened new avenues of inquiry, suggesting that fatty acids and carbohydrates may provide nutrient-specific signals informing the gut and brain of the nature of the ingested nutrients. This special issue on “Taste, Nutrition, and Health” presents original research communications and comprehensive reviews on topics of broad interest to researchers and educators in sensory science, nutrition, physiology, public health, and health care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)

Research

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Communication
A Brief Review of Genetic Approaches to the Study of Food Preferences: Current Knowledge and Future Directions
Nutrients 2019, 11(8), 1735; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081735 - 26 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2496
Abstract
Genetic variation plays a crucial role in individual differences in food preferences which ultimately influence food selection and health. Our current understanding of this pathway has been informed through twin studies (to assess the heritability of food preferences), candidate gene studies, and genome-wide [...] Read more.
Genetic variation plays a crucial role in individual differences in food preferences which ultimately influence food selection and health. Our current understanding of this pathway has been informed through twin studies (to assess the heritability of food preferences), candidate gene studies, and genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, most of this literature is mainly focused on genes previously identified as having taste or smell functions. New data suggests that genes not associated with taste or smell perception may be involved in food preferences and contribute to health outcomes. This review highlights these emerging findings and suggests a polygenic risk assessment approach to explore new relationships between food preferences and health risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
Article
Relative Validity of a Food and Beverage Preference Questionnaire to Characterize Taste Phenotypes in Children Adolescents and Adults
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1453; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071453 - 27 Jun 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2243
Abstract
To assess the relative validity of our food and beverage preference questionnaire we investigated the association between sweet and fatty taste preference scores (assessed using a food and beverage preference questionnaire) and sweet and fatty food propensity scores (derived from a food frequency [...] Read more.
To assess the relative validity of our food and beverage preference questionnaire we investigated the association between sweet and fatty taste preference scores (assessed using a food and beverage preference questionnaire) and sweet and fatty food propensity scores (derived from a food frequency questionnaire). In I.Family, a large European multi-country cohort study, 12,207 participants from Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden, including 5291 adults, 3082 adolescents, and 3834 children, completed a food and beverage preference questionnaire with 63 items. Cumulative preference scores for sweet and fatty taste were calculated from the single item ranking ranging from 1 to 5. The relative consumption frequency of foods classified as sweet and fatty was used to calculate the corresponding consumption propensities, a continuous variable ranging from 0 to 100. We conducted regression analyses to investigate the association between sweet and fatty taste preference scores and sweet and fatty food propensity scores, respectively, separately for adults, adolescents ≥12 years, and for children <12 years. The overall sweet taste preference score was positively associated with the sweet food consumption propensity score (β = 2.4, 95% CI: 2.1;2.7) and the fatty taste preference score was positively associated with the fatty food consumption propensity score (β = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.8;2.2). After stratification for age (children <12 years, adolescents ≥12 years, and adults), the effect remained significant in all age groups and was strongest in adolescents and adults. We conclude that our food and beverage preference questionnaire is a useful instrument for epidemiological studies on sensory perception and health outcomes and for the characterization of sensory taste phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
Article
Influences of Psychological Traits and PROP Taster Status on Familiarity with and Choice of Phenol-Rich Foods and Beverages
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1329; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061329 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2014
Abstract
Plant phenolics are powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers that can contribute to the healthy functional properties of plant-based food and beverages. Thus, dietary behaviours rich in plant-based food and beverages are encouraged. However, it is well-known that the bitter taste and other [...] Read more.
Plant phenolics are powerful antioxidants and free radical scavengers that can contribute to the healthy functional properties of plant-based food and beverages. Thus, dietary behaviours rich in plant-based food and beverages are encouraged. However, it is well-known that the bitter taste and other low-appealing sensory properties that characterize vegetables and some other plant-based foods act as an innate barrier for their acceptance. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of psychological traits and PROP status (the responsiveness to bitter taste of 6-n- propylthiouracil) on the choice of and familiarity with phenol-rich vegetables and beverages varying in recalled level of bitterness and astringency. Study 1 aimed at assessing the variations of the sensory properties of vegetable and coffee/tea items with two check-all-that-apply (CATA) questionnaires (n = 201 and n = 188 individuals, respectively). Study 2 aimed at investigating how sensitivity to punishment, to reward, and to disgust, food neophobia, private body consciousness, alexithymia, and PROP responsiveness affect choice and familiarity with phenol-rich foods (n = 1200 individuals). A Choice Index was calculated for vegetables (CV) and coffee/tea (CC) as a mean of the choices of the more bitter/astringent option of the pairs and four Familiarity Indices were computed for vegetables (FV) and coffee/tea (FC), higher (+) or lower (-) in bitterness and astringency. Subjects higher in food neophobia, sensitivity to punishment or sensitivity to disgust reported significantly lower choice indices than individuals lower in these traits, meaning that they systematically opted for the least bitter/astringent option within the pairs. Familiarity with vegetables was lower in individuals high in sensitivity to punishment, in food neophobia and in alexithymia, irrespective of their sensory properties. The Familiarity Index with coffee/tea characterized by higher bitterness and astringency was lower in individuals high in food neophobia, sensitivity to disgust, and alexithymia. No significant effect of PROP was found on any indices. The proposed approach based on product grouping according to differences in bitterness and astringency allowed the investigation of the role of individual differences in chemosensory perception and of psychological traits as modulators of phenol-rich foods preference and consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Estimation of Olfactory Sensitivity Using a Bayesian Adaptive Method
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061278 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1641
Abstract
The ability to smell is crucial for most species as it enables the detection of environmental threats like smoke, fosters social interactions, and contributes to the sensory evaluation of food and eating behavior. The high prevalence of smell disturbances throughout the life span [...] Read more.
The ability to smell is crucial for most species as it enables the detection of environmental threats like smoke, fosters social interactions, and contributes to the sensory evaluation of food and eating behavior. The high prevalence of smell disturbances throughout the life span calls for a continuous effort to improve tools for quick and reliable assessment of olfactory function. Odor-dispensing pens, called Sniffin’ Sticks, are an established method to deliver olfactory stimuli during diagnostic evaluation. We tested the suitability of a Bayesian adaptive algorithm (QUEST) to estimate olfactory sensitivity using Sniffin’ Sticks by comparing QUEST sensitivity thresholds with those obtained using a procedure based on an established standard staircase protocol. Thresholds were measured twice with both procedures in two sessions (Test and Retest). Overall, both procedures exhibited considerable overlap, with QUEST displaying slightly higher test-retest correlations, less variability between measurements, and reduced testing duration. Notably, participants were more frequently presented with the highest concentration during QUEST, which may foster adaptation and habituation effects. We conclude that further research is required to better understand and optimize the procedure for assessment of olfactory performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
A Preventive Prebiotic Supplementation Improves the Sweet Taste Perception in Diet-Induced Obese Mice
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030549 - 05 Mar 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2436
Abstract
Orosensory perception of sweet stimulus is blunted in diet-induced obese (DIO) rodents. Although this alteration might contribute to unhealthy food choices, its origin remains to be understood. Cumulative evidence indicates that prebiotic manipulations of the gut microbiota are associated with changes in food [...] Read more.
Orosensory perception of sweet stimulus is blunted in diet-induced obese (DIO) rodents. Although this alteration might contribute to unhealthy food choices, its origin remains to be understood. Cumulative evidence indicates that prebiotic manipulations of the gut microbiota are associated with changes in food intake by modulating hedonic and motivational drive for food reward. In the present study, we explore whether a prebiotic supplementation can also restore the taste sensation in DIO mice. The preference and licking behavior in response to various sucrose concentrations were determined using respectively two-bottle choice tests and gustometer analysis in lean and obese mice supplemented or not with 10% inulin-type fructans prebiotic (P) in a preventive manner. In DIO mice, P addition reduced the fat mass gain and energy intake, limited the gut dysbiosis and partially improved the sweet taste perception (rise both of sucrose preference and number of licks/10 s vs. non-supplemented DIO mice). No clear effect on orosensory perception of sucrose was found in the supplemented control mice. Therefore, a preventive P supplementation can partially correct the loss of sweet taste sensitivity found in DIO mice, with the efficiency of treatment being dependent from the nutritional status of mice (high fat diet vs. regular chow). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Intraintestinal Delivery of Tastants Using a Naso-Duodenal-Ileal Catheter Does Not Influence Food Intake or Satiety
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020472 - 23 Feb 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1542
Abstract
Intraduodenal activity of taste receptors reduces food intake. Taste receptors are expressed throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract. Currently, there are no data available on the effects of distal taste receptor activation. In this study, we investigate the effect of intraduodenal and/or intraileal activation [...] Read more.
Intraduodenal activity of taste receptors reduces food intake. Taste receptors are expressed throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract. Currently, there are no data available on the effects of distal taste receptor activation. In this study, we investigate the effect of intraduodenal and/or intraileal activation of taste receptors on food intake and satiety. In a single-blind randomized crossover trial, fourteen participants were intubated with a naso-duodenal-ileal catheter and received four infusion regimens: duodenal placebo and ileal placebo (DPIP), duodenal tastants and ileal placebo (DTIP), duodenal placebo and ileal tastants (DPIT), duodenal tastants and ileal tastants (DTIT). Fifteen minutes after cessation of infusion, subjects received an ad libitum meal to measure food intake. Visual analog scale scores for satiety feelings were collected at regular intervals. No differences in food intake were observed between the various interventions (DPIP: 786.6 ± 79.2 Kcal, DTIP: 803.3 ± 69.0 Kcal, DPIT: 814.7 ± 77.3 Kcal, DTIT: 834.8 ± 59.2 Kcal, p = 0.59). No differences in satiety feelings were observed. Intestinal infusion of tastants using a naso-duodenal-ileal catheter did not influence food intake or satiety feelings. Possibly, the burden of the four-day naso-duodenal-ileal intubation masked a small effect that tastants might have on food intake and satiety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Effects of Varying the Color, Aroma, Bitter, and Sweet Levels of a Grapefruit-Like Model Beverage on the Sensory Properties and Liking of the Consumer
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020464 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1635
Abstract
Color, aroma, sweet, and bitter tastes contribute to the sensory perception of grapefruit juice. Consumers differ about liking grapefruit. A reason is the bitter taste that characterize the fruit. The objective was to determine the effect of varying the color (red or yellow), [...] Read more.
Color, aroma, sweet, and bitter tastes contribute to the sensory perception of grapefruit juice. Consumers differ about liking grapefruit. A reason is the bitter taste that characterize the fruit. The objective was to determine the effect of varying the color (red or yellow), aroma (two levels), bitterness (three levels), and sweetness (three levels) of a grapefruit-like model beverage, on consumers’ liking and perception of its sensory properties. The sensory profiles of thirty-six grapefruit-like beverages, created on the basis of a factorial design, has been described. Consumers rated their liking of color, aroma, and flavor of the twelve most diverse beverages. Bitter and sweet levels of the beverages had a significant effect on the flavor and aftertaste attributes. Aroma concentration had a significant effect on the majority of the sensory attributes. Color had a significant effect on perception of some of the aroma attributes, as well as the grapefruit’s flavor intensity. Consumers liked the red beverages more than the yellow ones, and those with low aroma over the high aroma intensity. Consumers preferred the low bitter/high sweet beverages. Pungent and grapefruit aroma were found to be negative drivers for liking of the aroma. Sweet and citrus flavors were found to be positive drivers and sour and bitter flavors were found to be negative drivers of flavor-preferences (or liking) of the tested beverages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Human Tongue Electrophysiological Response to Oleic Acid and Its Associations with PROP Taster Status and the CD36 Polymorphism (rs1761667)
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020315 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1418
Abstract
The perception of fat varies among individuals and has also been associated with CD36 rs1761667 polymorphism and genetic ability to perceive oral marker 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). Nevertheless, data in the literature are controversial. We present direct measures for the activation of the peripheral taste [...] Read more.
The perception of fat varies among individuals and has also been associated with CD36 rs1761667 polymorphism and genetic ability to perceive oral marker 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). Nevertheless, data in the literature are controversial. We present direct measures for the activation of the peripheral taste system in response to oleic acid by electrophysiological recordings from the tongue of 35 volunteers classified for PROP taster status and genotyped for CD36. The waveform of biopotentials was analyzed and values of amplitude and rate of potential variation were measured. Oleic acid stimulations evoked positive monophasic potentials, which represent the summated voltage change consequent to the response of the stimulated taste cells. Bio-electrical measurements were fully consistent with the perceived intensity during stimulation, which was verbally reported by the volunteers. ANOVA revealed that the amplitude of signals was directly associated, mostly in the last part of the response, with the CD36 genotypes and PROP taster status (which was directly associated with the density of papillae). The rate of potential variation was associated only with CD36, primarily in the first part of the response. In conclusion, our results provide direct evidence of the relationship between fat perception and rs1761667 polymorphism of the CD36 gene and PROP phenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Modeling Associations between Chemosensation, Liking for Fats and Sweets, Dietary Behaviors and Body Mass Index in Chronic Smokers
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020271 - 26 Jan 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1862
Abstract
Chronic smokers have a greater risk for altered chemosensation, unhealthy dietary patterns, and excessive adiposity. In an observational study of chronic smokers, we modeled relationships between chemosensation, fat/carbohydrate liking, smoking-associated dietary behaviors, and body mass index (BMI). Also tested in the model was [...] Read more.
Chronic smokers have a greater risk for altered chemosensation, unhealthy dietary patterns, and excessive adiposity. In an observational study of chronic smokers, we modeled relationships between chemosensation, fat/carbohydrate liking, smoking-associated dietary behaviors, and body mass index (BMI). Also tested in the model was liking for sweet electronic cigarette juice (e-juice). Smokers (n = 135, 37 ± 11 years) were measured for: Taste genetics (intensity of 6-n-propylthiouracil—PROP); taste (NaCl and quinine intensities) and olfactory (odor identification) function; liking for cherry e-juice; and weight/height to calculate BMI. Smokers survey-reported their food liking and use of smoking for appetite/weight control. Structural equation models tested direct and indirect relationships between chemosensation, fat/carbohydrate liking, dietary behaviors, and BMI. In good-fitting models, taste intensity was linked to BMI variation through fat/carbohydrate liking (greater PROP intensity→greater NaCl intensity→greater food liking→higher BMI). Olfactory function tended to predict sweet e-juice liking, which, in turn, partially mediated the food liking and BMI association. The path between smoking-associated dietary behaviors and BMI was direct and independent of chemosensation or liking. These findings indicate that taste associates with BMI in chronic smokers through liking of fats/carbohydrates. Future research should determine if vaping sweet e-juice could improve diet quality and adiposity for smokers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Distorted Taste and Impaired Oral Health in Patients with Sicca Complaints
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020264 - 24 Jan 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2604
Abstract
Senses of smell and taste, saliva flow, and dental status are considered as important factors for the maintenance of a good nutritional status. Salivary secretory rates, chemosensory function, burning mouth sensation, halitosis and dental status were investigated in 58 patients with primary Sjögren’s [...] Read more.
Senses of smell and taste, saliva flow, and dental status are considered as important factors for the maintenance of a good nutritional status. Salivary secretory rates, chemosensory function, burning mouth sensation, halitosis and dental status were investigated in 58 patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS), 22 non-Sjögren’s syndrome sicca (non-SS) patients, and 57 age-matched healthy controls. A significantly greater proportion of patients with pSS and non-SS had ageusia, dysgeusia, burning mouth sensation, and halitosis compared to controls. Patients with pSS had significantly lower olfactory and gustatory scores, and significantly higher caries experience compared to controls. Patients with pSS and non-SS patients had significantly lower unstimulated and stimulated whole saliva secretory rates compared to controls. The findings indicated that several different aspects of oral health were compromised in both, patients with pSS and non-SS, and this may affect their food intake and, hence, their nutritional status. Although non-SS patients do not fulfill Sjögren’s syndrome classification criteria, they have similar or, in some cases, even worse oral complaints than the patients with pSS. Further studies are needed to investigate food preferences, dietary intake, and nutritional status in these two patient groups in relation to their health condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Sweet and Umami Taste Perception Differs with Habitual Exercise in Males
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010155 - 12 Jan 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2398
Abstract
Taste is influenced by several factors. However, whether habitual exercise level is associated with differences in taste perception has received little investigation. The aim of this study was to determine if habitual exercise is associated with differences in taste perception in men. Active [...] Read more.
Taste is influenced by several factors. However, whether habitual exercise level is associated with differences in taste perception has received little investigation. The aim of this study was to determine if habitual exercise is associated with differences in taste perception in men. Active (n = 16) and inactive (n = 14) males, between ages 18–55, underwent two days of sensory testing, using prototypical taste stimuli of high and low concentrations for sweet, salt, bitter, sour, umami, and carbohydrate (maltodextrin). Mean perceived intensity and hedonic ratings were recorded. Eating behaviour was assessed by the three factor eating questionnaire and food intake by EPIC food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). There were moderate to large differences between the two groups in perceived intensity for sweet taste at the high concentration and umami taste at both high and low concentrations, with active males recording a higher perceived intensity (p < 0.05 for all). The active group also recorded a greater dislike for umami low and carbohydrate low concentration (p < 0.01). Salt, bitter and sour perception did not significantly differ between the two groups. FFQ analysis showed no difference in % energy from macronutrients between the groups. Eating behaviour traits correlated with sweet taste intensity and umami taste liking, independent of activity status. Results indicated that sweet and umami taste perception differ in active compared to inactive males. Habitual exercise level should be considered in taste perception research and in product development. Whether differences in taste perception could be one factor influencing food intake and thus energy balance with habitual exercise warrants further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Quantifying Sweet Taste Liker Phenotypes: Time for Some Consistency in the Classification Criteria
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010129 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3584
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
The Influence of Water Composition on Flavor and Nutrient Extraction in Green and Black Tea
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010080 - 03 Jan 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6875
Abstract
Tea is made from the processed leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is a tropical and subtropical evergreen plant native to Asia. Behind water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Factors that affect tea brewing include brewing temperature, vessel, [...] Read more.
Tea is made from the processed leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is a tropical and subtropical evergreen plant native to Asia. Behind water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Factors that affect tea brewing include brewing temperature, vessel, and time, water-to-leaf ratio, and, in some reports, the composition of the water used. In this project, we tested if the water used to brew tea was sufficient to influence perceived flavor to the everyday tea drinker. Black and green tea were brewed with bottled, tap, and deionized water, with brewing temperature, vessel, time, and the water-to-leaf ratio matched. The samples were analyzed with a human consumer sensory panel, as well as instrumentally for color, turbidity, and Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) content. Results showed that the type of water used to brew tea drastically affected sensory properties of green tea (and mildly also for black tea), which was likely driven by a much greater degree of extraction of bitter catechins in teas brewed with more purified bottled or deionized water. For the everyday tea drinker who drinks green tea for health, the capability to double the EGCG content in tea by simply brewing with bottled or deionized water represents a clear advantage. Conversely, those drinking tea for flavor may benefit from instead brewing tea with tap water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Taste Perception and Caffeine Consumption: An fMRI Study
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010034 - 24 Dec 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2277
Abstract
Caffeine is ubiquitous, yet its impact on central taste processing is not well understood. Although there has been considerable research on caffeine’s physiological and cognitive effects, there is a paucity of research investigating the effects of caffeine on taste. Here we used functional [...] Read more.
Caffeine is ubiquitous, yet its impact on central taste processing is not well understood. Although there has been considerable research on caffeine’s physiological and cognitive effects, there is a paucity of research investigating the effects of caffeine on taste. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate group differences between caffeine consumers and non-consumers in blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) activation during hedonic evaluation of taste. We scanned 14 caffeine consumers and 14 caffeine non-consumers at 3 Tesla, while they rated three tastes: caffeine (bitter), sucrose (sweet), and saccharin (sweet with bitter after taste), in aqueous solutions. Differences in BOLD activation were analyzed using voxel wise independent samples t-tests within Analysis of Functional Neuroimage (AFNI). Results indicated that during the hedonic evaluation of caffeine or sucrose, caffeine non-consumers had significantly greater activation in neuronal areas associated with memory and reward. During the hedonic evaluation of saccharin, caffeine consumers had significantly greater activation in areas associated with memory and information processing. The findings suggest caffeine consumption is associated with differential activation in neuronal areas involved in reward, memory, and information processing. Further research on intensity and hedonics of bitter and sweet stimuli in caffeine consumers and non-consumers will be of great interest to better understand the nature of differences in taste perception between caffeine consumers and non-consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Assessing Food Liking: Comparison of Food Liking Questionnaires and Direct Food Tasting in Two Cultures
Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1957; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121957 - 11 Dec 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1572
Abstract
Food liking can be directly measured in specialised sensory testing facilities; however, this method is not feasible for large population samples. The aim of the study was to compare a Food Liking Questionnaire (FLQ) against lab-based sensory testing in two countries. The study [...] Read more.
Food liking can be directly measured in specialised sensory testing facilities; however, this method is not feasible for large population samples. The aim of the study was to compare a Food Liking Questionnaire (FLQ) against lab-based sensory testing in two countries. The study was conducted with 70 Australian and Thai participants (35 Australian, 35 Thai, mean (SD) age 19 (3.01) years, 51% men). Participants completed a FLQ (consisting of 73 food items Australia, 89 Thai) and then, after tasting the food, rated their liking of a selection of 10 commercially available food items using a nine-point hedonic scale. Both tasks were completed on the same day and were repeated one week later. The reliability of and a comparison between methods was determined using Intra-Class Correlation Coefficients (ICC), and the difference was assessed using an independent sample t-test. The results indicate that the test-retest reliability of FLQ and the laboratory-based liking assessment range was moderate (0.40–0.59) to excellent (0.75–1.00). There were significant differences for the FLQ and the laboratory-based liking assessment between countries for three food items: soft drink, instant vegetable soup, and broccoli (p < 0.01). However, the data produced from the FLQ reflects the laboratory-based liking assessment. Therefore, it provides representative liking data in large population-based studies including cross-cultural studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
Article
A Comparison of Psychophysical Dose-Response Behaviour across 16 Sweeteners
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1632; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111632 - 02 Nov 2018
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3084
Abstract
Reduction or replacement of sucrose while maintaining sweetness in foods is challenging, but today there are many sweeteners with diverse physical and caloric compositions to choose from. The choice of sweetener can be adapted to match reformulation goals whether these are to reduce [...] Read more.
Reduction or replacement of sucrose while maintaining sweetness in foods is challenging, but today there are many sweeteners with diverse physical and caloric compositions to choose from. The choice of sweetener can be adapted to match reformulation goals whether these are to reduce calories, lower the glycaemic response, provide bulk or meet criteria as a natural ingredient. The current study sought to describe and compare the sweetness intensity dose-response, sweetness growth rate, sweetness potency, and potential for calorie reduction across 16 different sweeteners including sucrose. Sweetness growth rate was defined as the rate of change in sweetness intensity per unit of sweetener concentration. Sweetness potency was defined as the ratio of the concentration of a sweetener to that of sucrose at equivalent sweetness intensity, whereas the potential for calorie reduction is the caloric value of a sweetener compared to sucrose at matched sweetness intensities. Sweeteners were drawn from a range of nutritive saccharide (sucrose, dextrose, fructose, allulose (d-psicose), palatinose (isomaltulose), and a sucrose–allulose mixture), nutritive polyol (maltitol, erythritol, mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol), non-nutritive synthetic (aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose) and non-nutritive natural sweeteners stevia (rebaudioside A), luo han guo (mogroside V). Sweetness intensities of the 16 sweeteners were compared with a sensory panel of 40 participants (n = 40; 28 females). Participants were asked to rate perceived sweetness intensity for each sweetener series across a range of concentrations using psychophysical ratings taken on a general labelled magnitude scale (gLMS). All sweeteners exhibited sigmoidal dose-response behaviours and matched the ‘moderate’ sweetness intensity of sucrose (10% w/v). Fructose, xylitol and sucralose had peak sweetness intensities greater than sucrose at the upper concentrations tested, while acesulfame-K and stevia (rebA) were markedly lower. Independent of sweetener concentration, the nutritive sweeteners had similar sweetness growth rates to sucrose and were greater than the non-nutritive sweeteners. Non-nutritive sweeteners on the other hand had higher potencies relative to sucrose, which decreases when matching at higher sweetness intensities. With the exception of dextrose and palatinose, all sweeteners matched the sweetness intensity of sucrose across the measured range (3.8–25% w/v sucrose) with fewer calories. Overall, the sucrose–allulose mixture, maltitol and xylitol sweeteners were most similar to sucrose in terms of dose-response behaviour, growth rate and potency, and showed the most potential for sugar replacement within the range of sweetness intensities tested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Fatty Acid Lingual Application Activates Gustatory and Reward Brain Circuits in the Mouse
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091246 - 06 Sep 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2146
Abstract
The origin of spontaneous preference for dietary lipids in humans and rodents is debated, though recent compelling evidence has shown the existence of fat taste that might be considered a sixth taste quality. We investigated the implication of gustatory and reward brain circuits, [...] Read more.
The origin of spontaneous preference for dietary lipids in humans and rodents is debated, though recent compelling evidence has shown the existence of fat taste that might be considered a sixth taste quality. We investigated the implication of gustatory and reward brain circuits, triggered by linoleic acid (LA), a long-chain fatty acid. The LA was applied onto the circumvallate papillae for 30 min in conscious C57BL/6J mice, and neuronal activation was assessed using c-Fos immunohistochemistry. By using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), we also studied the expression of mRNA encoding brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), Zif-268, and Glut-1 in some brain areas of these animals. LA induced a significant increase in c-Fos expression in the nucleus of solitary tract (NST), parabrachial nucleus (PBN), and ventroposterior medialis parvocellularis (VPMPC) of the thalamus, which are the regions known to be activated by gustatory signals. LA also triggered c-Fos expression in the central amygdala and ventral tegmental area (VTA), involved in food reward, in conjunction with emotional traits. Interestingly, we noticed a high expression of BDNF, Zif-268, and Glut-1 mRNA in the arcuate nucleus (Arc) and hippocampus (Hipp), where neuronal activation leads to memory formation. Our study demonstrates that oral lipid taste perception might trigger the activation of canonical gustatory and reward pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Article
Exploring Drivers of Liking of Low-Phenylalanine Products in Subjects with Phenyilketonuria Using Check-All-That-Apply Method
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091179 - 28 Aug 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1780
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to apply the Check-all-that-apply (CATA) method in an ambulatory context involving subjects with phenylketonuria (PKU) to obtain a sensory description and to find the drivers of liking of low-phenylalanine products (Glycomacropeptide vs. L-amino acids formulas). 86 [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to apply the Check-all-that-apply (CATA) method in an ambulatory context involving subjects with phenylketonuria (PKU) to obtain a sensory description and to find the drivers of liking of low-phenylalanine products (Glycomacropeptide vs. L-amino acids formulas). 86 subjects with PKU (age range: 8–55 years) evaluated 8 samples: 4 L-amino acid formulas and 4 Glycomacropeptide (GMP) formulas, flavored with neutral, chocolate, strawberry and tomato aromas. Participants were asked to indicate which sensory attributes characterized each formulations and to score the overall liking. Significant differences were found regarding liking scores (F = 65.29; p < 0.001). GMP samples flavored with chocolate and strawberry, described as sweets, with a mild and natural taste and odor, were the most appreciated. Overall, GMP formulas obtained higher liking scores compared to L-amino acid formulas. Tomato flavored samples, described as bitter, salty, with artificial color, with strong taste and odor, obtained the lowest scores. In conclusion, CATA questionnaire seems to be a suitable method also in ambulatory context since this approach suggested that different foods and beverages with GMP could be developed to improve dietary treatment compliance of subjects with PKU from school age onwards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Review
A Biopsychosocial Model of Sex Differences in Children’s Eating Behaviors
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 682; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030682 - 22 Mar 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4648
Abstract
The prevalence of obesity and eating disorders varies by sex, but the extent to which sex influences eating behaviors, especially in childhood, has received less attention. The purpose of this paper is to critically discuss the literature on sex differences in eating behavior [...] Read more.
The prevalence of obesity and eating disorders varies by sex, but the extent to which sex influences eating behaviors, especially in childhood, has received less attention. The purpose of this paper is to critically discuss the literature on sex differences in eating behavior in children and present new findings supporting the role of sex in child appetitive traits and neural responses to food cues. In children, the literature shows sex differences in food acceptance, food intake, appetitive traits, eating-related compensation, and eating speed. New analyses demonstrate that sex interacts with child weight status to differentially influence appetitive traits. Further, results from neuroimaging suggest that obesity in female children is positively related to neural reactivity to higher-energy-dense food cues in regions involved with contextual processing and object recognition, while the opposite was found in males. In addition to differences in how the brain processes information about food, other factors that may contribute to sex differences include parental feeding practices, societal emphasis on dieting, and peer influences. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings, as they may have implications for the development of effective intervention programs to improve dietary behaviors and prevent obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Review
Umami as an ‘Alimentary’ Taste. A New Perspective on Taste Classification
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010182 - 16 Jan 2019
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 5056
Abstract
Applied taste research is increasingly focusing on the relationship with diet and health, and understanding the role the sense of taste plays in encouraging or discouraging consumption. The concept of basic tastes dates as far back 3000 years, where perception dominated classification with [...] Read more.
Applied taste research is increasingly focusing on the relationship with diet and health, and understanding the role the sense of taste plays in encouraging or discouraging consumption. The concept of basic tastes dates as far back 3000 years, where perception dominated classification with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter consistently featuring on basic taste lists throughout history. Advances in molecular biology and the recent discovery of taste receptors and ligands has increased the basic taste list to include umami and fat taste. There is potential for a plethora of other new basic tastes pending the discovery of taste receptors and ligands. Due to the possibility for an ever-growing list of basic tastes it is pertinent to critically evaluate whether new tastes, including umami, are suitably positioned with the four classic basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, and bitter). The review critically examines the evidence that umami, and by inference other new tastes, fulfils the criteria for a basic taste, and proposes a subclass named ‘alimentary’ for tastes not meeting basic criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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Review
Sweet Taste as a Predictor of Dietary Intake: A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010094 - 05 Jan 2019
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 3282
Abstract
Taste is frequently cited as an important factor in food choice, and while a number of studies have attempted to identify relationships between taste function and dietary intake, a systematic review of these studies has been lacking. This review identified studies that examined [...] Read more.
Taste is frequently cited as an important factor in food choice, and while a number of studies have attempted to identify relationships between taste function and dietary intake, a systematic review of these studies has been lacking. This review identified studies that examined associations between taste function or taste perception and dietary intake. The purpose was to determine which taste measure was most closely associated with dietary intake in healthy adults. Studies that measured some component of dietary intake, either acutely or longer-term, were eligible for inclusion. Studies were grouped into three categories: those that measured sensitivity (thresholds), intensity, or hedonic responses to sweet stimuli. Sensitivity and intensity studies demonstrated little association with dietary intake measures. Hedonic measurements were more likely to be associated with dietary intake, especially if sweet likers were analyzed separately from sweet dislikers, but the degree of heterogeneity among stimulus concentrations and dietary measures as well as small sample sizes likely obscured more consistent relationships between hedonic evaluation and dietary intake. Due to the potential for within-day and between-day variability in both taste function and dietary intake, future work should explore obtaining more than one taste measurement before comparing results to longer-term dietary assessments and attempts to standardize methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taste, Nutrition and Health)
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