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Research Updates | Taste

How does impaired taste affect food choices?

10 / 10 / 17

Some research suggests a weaker sense of taste in people with obesity creates the desire for more intensely tasting stimuli. This study set out to test this suggestion. The researchers administered varying concentrations of Gymnema sylvestre (GS) tea that temporarily diminishes sweet taste, or a control tea, and then ratings on sweet stimuli were measured. Participants were tested for general magnitude of sweet taste, hedonic liking, and optimal level of sweetness quantified via an ad-libitum mixing task. Data was analysed with mixed models. Results showed GS tea did diminish sweet taste perception, reduced liking for sweet foods and increased desire for sucrose content of these foods. Regression modelling showed a 1% reduction in sweet taste response was associated with a 0.4g/L increase in optimal concentration of sucrose.

Noel CA, Sugrue M, Dando R. Participants with pharmacologically impaired taste function seek out more intense, higher calorie stimuli. Appetite  2017; 117; 74-81