Assessment of fat taste in individuals with and without anorexia nervosa

Authors

  • Janet E. Schebendach PhD, RD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
    2. The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York
    • Correspondence to: J. Schebendach Ph.D., R.D., New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY 10032. E-mail: js2202@columbia.edu

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Diane A. Klein MD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Laurel E.S. Mayer MD,

    1. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
    2. The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michael J. Devlin MD,

    1. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
    2. The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Evelyn Attia MD,

    1. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
    2. The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • B. Timothy Walsh MD

    1. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York
    2. The New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author

ABSTRACT

Objective

Avoidance of dietary fat is a highly characteristic eating behavior of individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN). To date, no study has determined whether these individuals are better able to perceive the fat content of foods than individuals without AN. The goal of this study was to compare blinded taste ratings of fat-free, low fat, and regular cream cheese in patients with AN and in normal controls (NC).

Method

AN (n = 25) and control (NC; n = 25) participants were presented with a series of nine cream cheese samples of three differing fat contents and asked to taste and rate each sample from very low to very high fat.

Results

Repeated measures ANOVA found no significant main effect of fat content and no interaction between fat content and diagnosis; however, a significant three-way interaction between fat content, diagnosis, and trial was observed. Post hoc analysis revealed a significant fat content by trial interaction within the AN group, suggesting a significant trial effect for the fat-free samples only with improving ability to detect fat-free samples over repeated trials.

Discussion

The current study suggests that individuals with AN do not have a markedly greater ability to taste fat than NC, and that; therefore, fat avoidance is likely primarily based on cognitive factors. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:215–218)

Ancillary