Taste and weight: is there a link?

LF Donaldson, L Bennett, SM Baic, JK Melichar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Investigations of the relations between taste perception and obesity have concentrated largely on sweet and bitter tastes, with little work on the “savory” tastes—salt and glutamate—and very little work on sour taste. This article briefly reviews current understanding of the relations between the ability to taste different tastes, (ie, taste threshold for sweet, bitter, sour, salt, and umami) and body mass. Obese children and adolescents show a disturbance in some tastes, with reported reductions in sweet and salt thresholds. Observations on relations between sweet taste threshold and obesity are contradictory; literature discrepancies may depend on the techniques used to evaluate taste. Obese women, however, report higher intensities of monosodium glutamate perception. Taste thresholds have been reported to be raised (bitter and sour), lowered (salt), or unchanged (sweet) in obese adults. Taste perceptual changes (threshold, intensity) in obesity are complex and may be different in obese men and women and in adults and children. Very little is currently known about the relations between savory tastes—salt and umami—and body weight, and these areas merit further study
Translated title of the contributionTaste and weight: is there a link?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1s - 4s
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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