LION’S DEN 20 JULY 2016 Shakeela Jayasinghe SWEET TASTE INTENSITY PERCEPTION LINKED TO ‘SWEET TEETH’ Does a ‘sweet tooth’ actually exist? According to Shakeela Jayasinghe, a PhD student from Massey University, sweet taste sensitivity has a key role to play in whether a person develops a habit for sweet foods… and could lead to novel dietary approaches to new food groups. Jayasinghe, who researches with the university’s School of Food and Nutrition, has unravelled new insights into the mysteries of sweet food intake, and says ‘sweet teeth’ do actually lead to sugar habit. While sugar consumption creates pleasure, excessive sugar leads to weight gain and obesity, Jayasinghe says. “There are variations in sweet taste sensitivity between individuals, which then influences their diet. I wanted to better understand the relationship between sensitivity to sweet taste, and sweet food intake, for new insights into people’s food choices.” The cross-sectional study looked at the relationship between sweet taste perception and the sweet food intake of healthy women aged 20-40 years. Sweet taste perception was assessed by rating sweet intensity and liking of different glucose concentrations. In addition, participants completed dietary questionnaires about their sweet food intake and how much they liked sweet drinks. Study results suggest sweet taste sensitivity has a key role to play in whether a person develops a habit for sweet foods. Those sensitive to sweetness at the highest level (1000mM glucose) were less inclined to like juices or to eat sweet foods often, while those less sensitive tended to like fruit juice and sweet fruits as well as baking, sweets and sweet drinks. In addition, women who preferred to snack on sweet items perceived 1000mM glucose as less sweet. Although the study did not find differences in sweet taste sensitivity or sweetness liking between participants with and without a sweet tooth, those who reported having a sweet tooth more frequently consumed baking, chocolate and soft lollies. Jayasinghe presented these results at the 13th International Congress in Obesity in Vancouver, Canada two months ago. Her PhD supervisor Professor Bernhard Breier says this signals a significant recognition of the study’s findings in understanding the role taste perception plays in food intake. “The discovery that sweet taste intensity perception influences habitual sweet food intake will guide future intervention studies involving novel dietary approaches or foods to support population groups at risk of metabolic disease and obesity,” Breier says. Currently: PhD student at Massey University’s School of Food and Nutrition Aims: To understand the relationship between sensitivity to sweet taste and sweet food intake to understand people’s food choices. Contact: S.N.Jayasinghe @massey.ac.nz MEET From left: Shakeela Jayasinghe, Professor Bernhard Breier and Dr Jennifer Miles-Chan from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, at the 13th International Congress on Obesity, held in Vancouver, Canada. If you are a young food technologist with a great idea that you are developing, let us know and get your product, service or research pitched through the Lion’s Den. Contact the editor at email@example.com.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above