Background/Aims: Sugar consumption creates pleasure, but excessive sugar consumption leads to weight gain and is a key driver of obesity. This study aims to assess sweet food and beverage intake and behaviours and how they may be explained by perceived sweet taste intensity.
Methods: Women (N=45), aged 20-40 years, were recruited for this cross-sectional study. A non-quantitative sweet food-food frequency questionnaire (SF-FFQ) was developed to assess intakes. The three-factor eating questionnaire (TFEQ) was used to assess eating behaviour. Perception of the sweet taste intensity of glucose concentrations (125mM, 250mM, 500mM, 1000mM) was rated (0-100) on a modified general Labelled Magnitude Scale.
Results: Frequency of daily intake was reported as daily frequency equivalents (DFE). The mean DFE of occasional sweet food was high (4.23±2.29), with baking and sweets intake especially high (1.20±0.83). Women with a self-reported “sweet tooth” consumed significantly higher DFE of baking (P=0.04), chocolate (P=0.03) and soft lollies (P=0.04) than women with no “sweet tooth”. Chocolate DFE was significantly higher in women who experienced regular food cravings compared to women who did not (P=0.00). Higher sweet food consumption was correlated with less sensitivity to 1000mM glucose (r=-0.35, P=0.02). Women who preferred sweet snacks were less sensitive to 1000mM glucose than those who preferred savoury snacks (P=0.04).
Conclusions: Women with a lower sensitivity to sweet taste were more likely to consume more sweet food. Our data suggest that sweet taste intensity perception plays an important role in habitual sweet food and beverage intake.
Funding source: Massey University Research Fund