Deakin University

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The association between perceived sweetness intensity and dietary intake in young adults

journal contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sara Cicerale, Lynn RiddellLynn Riddell, Russell KeastRussell Keast
Individual differences in taste perception may influence dietary habits, nutritional status, and ultimately nutrition-related chronic disease risk. Individual differences in sweetness intensity perception and the relationship between perceived sweetness intensity, food behaviors, and dietary intake was investigated in 85 adults. Subjects (body mass index [BMI]= 21 ± 3, 21 ± 4 y) completed a food and diet questionnaire, food variety survey, 2 24-h food records, and a perceived sweetness intensity measurement using the general labeled magnitude scale (gLMS). There was interindividual variation in perceived sweetness intensity (0 to 34 gLMS units, mean 10 ± 7). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed no difference between perceived sweetness intensity and degree of importance placed on not adding sugar to tea or coffee (P = 0.2) and the degree of importance placed on avoiding sugar-sweetened or fizzy drinks (P = 1.0). Independent t-test analysis revealed no significant association between perceived sweetness intensity and the food variety measure for sugar and confectionary intake (P = 0.6) and selected fruit and vegetable intake (P = 0.1 to 0.9). One-way ANOVA also demonstrated no difference between tertiles of sweetness intensity and BMI (P = 0.1), age (P = 0.3), and food variety score (P = 0.5). No correlation was observed with regards to perceived sweetness intensity and mean total energy (kJ) intake (r = 0.05, P = 0.7), percent energy from total fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, and grams of fiber (r =–0.1 to 0.1, P = 0.2 to 0.8) and also for intake of the micronutrients: folate, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc (r = 0.1 to 0.2, P = 0.1 to 0.4). Only modest correlations were observed between sodium (r = 0.3, P < 0.05), vitamin C (r = 0.3, P < 0.05), and potassium (r = 0.2, P < 0.0) intake and perceived sweetness intensity. Overall, perceived sweetness intensity does not appear to play a role in food behaviors relating to sugar consumption and dietary intake in adults.



Journal of food science






Wiley-Blackwell Publishing


London, England







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Institute of Food Technologists