Deakin University

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Temporal patterns in taste sensitivity

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-24, 05:31 authored by Andrew CostanzoAndrew Costanzo
Abstract Individuals vary in their ability to taste, and some individuals are more sensitive to certain tastes than others. Taste sensitivity is a predictor of various factors, such as diet, eating behavior, appetite regulation, and overall health. Furthermore, taste sensitivity can fluctuate within an individual over short to long periods of time: for example, in daily (diurnal) cycles, monthly (menstrual) cycles (in females), and yearly (seasonal) cycles. Understanding these temporal patterns is important for understanding individual eating habits and food preferences, particularly in the context of personalized and precision nutrition. This review provides a summary of the literature on taste sensitivity patterns across 3 temporal dimensions: daily, monthly, and yearly. Good evidence for diurnal patterns has been observed for sweet taste and fat taste, although the evidence is limited to rodent studies for the latter. Obese populations showed limited variation to sweet and fat taste sensitivities over a day, with limited variation in sweet taste sensitivity being linked to insulin resistance. There were mixed observations of temporal variation in sensitivity to sour and umami tastes, and there were no patterns in sensitivity to bitter taste. Menstrual patterns in sweet taste sensitivity were consistent with patterns in food intake. Other taste modality investigations had mixed findings that had little agreement across studies. Hormonal changes in females influence taste sensitivity to some degree, although the overall patterns are unclear. Seasonal patterns have been less well studied, but there is weak evidence that sweet, salty, and bitter taste sensitivities change across seasons. Differences in seasonal taste patterns have been observed in subgroups susceptible to mental health disorders, requiring further investigation. Patterns of taste sensitivity are evident across multiple temporal dimensions, and more research is needed to determine the influence of these patterns on food intake. Dysregulation of these patterns may also be a marker of certain diseases or health conditions, warranting further investigation. Notably, the alimentary tastes (umami, fat, and carbohydrate) are underrepresented in this research area and require additional investigation.



Nutrition Reviews








Oxford University Press (OUP)

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