Get access

Taking the Bitter with the Sweet: Relationship of Supertasting and Sweet Preference with Metabolic Syndrome and Dietary Intake

Authors

  • Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Nutrition, The Univ. of North Carolina Chapel Hill
    2. Dept. of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, The Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, U.S.A.
    • Dept. of Nutrition, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Deborah F. Tate,

    1. Dept. of Nutrition, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A.
    2. Dept. of Health Behavior, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A.
    3. UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Campus, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dominic Moore,

    1. Dept. of Nutrition, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A.
    2. UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Campus, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Barry Popkin

    1. Dept. of Nutrition, The Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

Direct inquiries to author Turner-McGrievy (E-mail: brie@sc.edu).

Abstract

Results examining the effects of tasting profile on dietary intake and health outcomes have varied. This study examined the interaction of sweet liker (SL) and supertaster (ST) (bitter taste test through phenylthiocarbamide [PTC]) status with incidence of metabolic syndrome. Participants (n = 196) as part of baseline testing in a behavioral weight loss study completed measures assessing SL and ST status, metabolic syndrome, and dietary intake. SLs were more likely to be African American. More women than men were STs. There was a significant interaction between ST and SL status as associated with metabolic syndrome, after adjustment for demographic characteristics. This interaction was also significantly associated with fiber and caloric beverage intake. Post hoc analyses showed that participants who were only an ST or SL appeared to have a decreased risk of having metabolic syndrome compared with those who have a combination or are neither taster groups (P = 0.047) and that SL + ST consumed less fiber than SL + non-ST (P = 0.04). Assessing genetic differences in taster preferences may be a useful strategy in the development of more tailored approaches to dietary interventions to prevent and treat metabolic syndrome.

Practical Application: Tasting profile, such as sweet liking (SL) or supertaster (ST), may be influenced by genetics, and therefore in turn, may influence dietary intake. The present study found an interaction between ST and SL status with incidence of metabolic syndrome and fiber and caloric beverage intake. Testing people for these tasting profiles may assist with tailoring dietary recommendations, particularly around fiber and caloric beverage intake, and provide a way to modify metabolic syndrome risk.

Ancillary