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Research Updates | Taste

Sweet taste perception & BMI

07 / 03 / 17

This longitudinal study examined a cohort of 1576 Australian twins to investigate the relationship between sweet taste perception and BMI. They estimated correlations between sweet perception scores (of glucose, fructose, and artificial sweeteners NHDC, aspartame) and BMI; associations between taste perception in adolescence and early adult BMI; and modelled the genetic overlap between sweet taste perception and BMI. They found early adult BMI was significantly associated with all sweet perception scores in adolescence, but only limited association was found when they were measured at the same time (in adolescence). These results suggest sweet taste perception in adolescence can be a potential indicator of BMI in early adulthood.

A significant genetic correlation was found between two of the sweet tastes (glucose and NHDC sweetener) and BMI, and this genetic overlap suggests some BMI genes may be acting through biological pathways of taste perception.

Hwang LD, Cuellar-Partida G, Ong JS et al. Sweet taste perception is associated with body mass index at the phenotypic and genotypic level. Twin Res Hum Genet 2016;19(5):465-71