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Individual differences in taste perception and bitterness masking

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The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter people from consuming a healthy diet. We investigated individual differences in taste perception and whether these differences influence the

The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter people from consuming a healthy diet. We investigated individual differences in taste perception and whether these differences influence the effectiveness of bitterness masking. To test whether phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) `supertasters' also taste salt and sugar with greater intensity, as suggested by Bartoshuk and colleagues (2004), we infused strips of paper with salt water or sugar water. The bitterness rating of the PTC strip had a significant positive linear relationship with ratings of both the intensity of sweet and salt, but the effect sizes were very low, suggesting that the PTC strip does not give a complete picture of tasting ability. Next we investigated whether various seasonings could mask the bitter taste of vegetables and whether this varied with tasting ability. We found that sugar decreased bitterness and lemon decreased liking for vegetables of varying degrees of bitterness. The results did not differ by ability to taste any of the flavors. Therefore, even though there are remarkable individual differences in taste perception, sugar can be used to improve the initial palatability of vegetables and increase their acceptance and consumption.

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  • 2012

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Fat as a Basic Taste: CD36 and its Role in Fat Taste

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Epidemiological studies have identified obesity as a risk factor for numerous chronic diseases such as adult onset diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. In both humans and laboratory animals, high-fat diets have

Epidemiological studies have identified obesity as a risk factor for numerous chronic diseases such as adult onset diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. In both humans and laboratory animals, high-fat diets have been shown to cause obesity. Increases in dietary fat lead to increased energy consumption and, consequently, significant increases in body fat content. CD36 has been implicated in fat perception, preference, and increased consumption, but it is yet to be tested using a behavior paradigm. To study the effect of CD36 on fat taste transmission and fat consumption, four CD36 knockout (experimental) mice and four Black 6 wildtype (control) mice underwent 20 days of fat preference and perception testing. Both groups of mice were exposed to foods with progressively increasing fat content (10%, 12.5%, 15% 17.5%, 20%, 45%) in order to assess the effect of CD36 on fat preference. Afterward, the mice were subjected to an aversive conditioning protocol designed to test the effect of CD36 on fat taste perception; development of a conditioned taste aversion was indicative of ability to taste fat. Especially, knockout mice exhibited diminished preference for and reduced consumption of fat during preference testing and were unable to identify fat taste as the conditioned stimulus during aversive conditioning. A repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni correction revealed a significant main effect of group on fat consumption, energy intake, and weight. Linear regression revealed CD36 status to account for a majority of observed variance in fat consumption across both phases of the experiment. These results implicate CD36 in fat taste perception and preference and add to the growing body of evidence suggesting fat as a primary taste.

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  • 2018