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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