12 January - 20 June 2016

Oral perceptions of fat

19 June 13

Subjects with mild, subclinical depression rate the taste of high-fat and low-fat foods similarly when in a positive or negative mood, according to research published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Petra Platte and colleagues from the University of Wurzburg, Germany.  This study examined the impact of three clinical psychological variables (non-pathological levels of depression and anxiety, as well as experimentally manipulated mood) on fat and taste perception in healthy subjects.  After a baseline orosensory evaluation, ‘sad’, ‘happy’ and ‘neutral’ video clips were presented to induce corresponding moods in eighty participants.  Following mood manipulation, subjects rated five different oral stimuli, appearing sweet, umami, sour, bitter, fatty, which were delivered at five different concentrations.  They were asked to rate a series of liquids based on the intensity of flavour they experienced.  They were also asked to gauge the fat content in milk samples by mouth-feel.  After watching a happy or sad movie clip, participants with mild, subclinical signs of depression were unable to tell the difference between a high-fat and low-fat sample, whereas they could distinguish between the two after watching a clip from a neutral film, as well as before they watched the movies.  These participants with high depression scores also rated bitter and sweet tastes as being more intense after they watched the movie clips than they did before this mood-inducing exercise.  The authors conclude that their results may have potential implications for unhealthy eating patterns, as this inability to distinguish food tastes may cause mildly depressed individuals to subconsciously eat more fatty foods.

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