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Individual differences among children in sucrose detection thresholds

04 / 04 / 16

Joseph PV, Reed DR, Mennella JA. Individual Differences Among Children in Sucrose Detection Thresholds: Relationship With Age, Gender, and Bitter Taste Genotype. Nurs Res. 2016 Jan-Feb;65(1):3-12.

This cross sectional study examined relationships between children’s (n=235) sucrose detection thresholds and age, gender, taste genotype, body composition and dietary intake of added sugar.

It found variants in the bitter (TAS2R38) but not sweet taste genes (TAS1R3 and GNAT3) were related to sucrose threshold and sugar intake. Children with two bitter sensitive alleles could detect sucrose at lower concentrations (were more sugar sensitive) and reported more added sugar than children with less sensitive alleles. Girls were more sugar sensitive than boys, older children more than younger, and fatter children (larger waist to hip ratio) more than lean.

This study suggests that inborn differences in bitter sensitivity may affect dietary sugar intake in childhood and may affect food consumption throughout life.