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PROP status and weight loss: does taster-type predict weight loss success?

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Given the continued increase in obesity rates in the United States, there has been growing research regarding factors related to obesity. Researchers have examined biological factors, such as set

Given the continued increase in obesity rates in the United States, there has been growing research regarding factors related to obesity. Researchers have examined biological factors, such as set point theory, as well as various psychological factors such as motivation, self-efficacy, and eating styles. Taster-type, defined as how an individual experiences the perception of taste (particularly bitterness), is a recent area of research that has explored the potential relationship between this phenomenon and obesity. The current study examined whether taster-type impacted weight loss, along with secondary measures of BMI, waist circumference, and food neophobia, as well as taster-type’s impact on these measures over time. This study also examined the potential role of taster-type as a predictor of weight loss, independent of the psychological variables of motivation, self-efficacy, and eating styles. Ninety adult participants, consisting of 64 females and 19 males were recruited for this study. They were asked to diet for four weeks; 60 finished the full four weeks and completed psychosocial measures over two time periods. They were asked to record their food using an online food journal, attend weekly meetings for weigh-ins, and were given psychoeducational materials regarding factors affecting weight loss. The results indicated that taster-type was not a significant factor in BMI or waist circumference, but taster-type did interact with time to reveal that supertasters consistently lost weight across the four week dieting period while nontasters leveled off after Week 2. Additionally, both groups increased in food neophobia from the start of the dieting period to the end of Week 4. Consistent with previous research, motivation and self-efficacy predicted weight loss; however, taster-type did not increase the prediction of weight loss across the dieting period. This effect only occurred at Week 2. By Week 4, no psychosocial variables were significant predictors of weight loss.

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  • 2016

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Individual differences in the efficacy of sodium chloride and sucrose as bitterness suppressors of brassicaceae vegetables

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The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter their consumption. While bitterness suppression by prototypical tastants is well-studied in the chemical and pharmacological fields, mechanisms to

The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter their consumption. While bitterness suppression by prototypical tastants is well-studied in the chemical and pharmacological fields, mechanisms to reduce the bitterness of foods such as vegetables remain to be elucidated. Here tastants representing the taste primaries of salty and sweet were investigated as potential bitterness suppressors of three types of Brassicaceae vegetables. The secondary aim of these studies was to determine whether the bitter masking agents were differentially effective for bitter-sensitive and bitter-insensitive individuals. In all experiments, participants rated vegetables plain and with the addition of tastants. In Experiments 1-3, sucrose and NNS suppressed the bitterness of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, whereas NaCl did not. Varying concentrations of NaCl and sucrose were introduced in Experiment 4 to assess the dose-dependency of the effects. While sucrose was a robust bitterness suppressor, NaCl suppressed bitterness only for participants who perceived the plain Brussels sprouts as highly bitter. Experiment 5, through the implementation of a rigorous control condition, determined that some but not all of this effect can be accounted for by regression to the mean. Individual variability in taste perception as determined by sampling of aqueous bitter, salty, and sweet solutions did not influence the degree of suppression by NaCl or sucrose. Consumption of vegetables is deterred by their bitter taste. Utilizing tastants to mask bitterness, a technique that preserves endogenous nutrients, can circumvent this issue. Sucrose is a robust bitter suppressor whereas the efficacy of NaCl is dependent upon bitterness perception of the plain vegetables.

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  • 2014

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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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Date Created
  • 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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Date Created
  • 2018