Positive association between bitter taste threshold and preference of vegetables among adolescents

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Aim: Better understanding of aspects of taste in adolescents is needed since it has bearings on food policies, food industry and pharmaceutical design. Furthermore, taste preferences likely play a role in overeating and anorexia. We aimed to validate a questionnaire about taste preferences and dietary habits along with measurements of sense of smell and taste. Methods: We included adolescents from nearby schools in Aarhus, Denmark, from 2017 to 2019. Scoring preferences and habits on a Likert scale, they completed a food item questionnaire. Their chemosensation was tested by the Sniffin’ Sticks and Taste Drop Test. Results: We included 100 adolescents: 53 males, 47 females; average age: 15.9 years (12-17 years). Retest of the questionnaire showed good reliability (Cohen's kappa: 0.5953). Snacks scored the highest average liking (4.48), whereas starches had the highest frequency of consumption (3.64). Bitter taste threshold was positively associated with liking and familiarity with vegetables (P =.032; P =.012), respectively. Healthy self-reported dietary habits were associated with a higher self-reported consumption of vegetables and a decreased consumption of snacks. Conclusion: Adolescents preferred unhealthy food items, but they also reported more frequent consumption of healthy than unhealthy food items. A higher threshold for the bitter taste, that is, being less sensitive to bitter taste, was associated with higher liking and familiarity of vegetables.

TidsskriftActa paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)
Sider (fra-til)875-880
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2021

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