Obese people tend to derive more satisfaction from their food, says a latest study. According to the study, the levels of satisfaction derived from food differ among adults who are of normal weight, overweight, and obese. The varied satisfaction levels of both the groups may result better understanding of obesity, the scientists noted. The study was published in the 'Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics'
"Obesity is a major public-health problem. Causes of obesity are varied, but food consumption decisions play an important role. Taste perceptions may lead to overeating. If people with obesity have different taste perceptions than non-obese people, it could lead to better understanding of obesity and possibly designing new approaches to prevent obesity," explained Linnea A. Polgreen, lead investigator of the study.
The researchers found no significant difference in taste perceptions between participants of normal weight and those who were overweight. However, it must be noted that obese participants had initial taste perceptions that were greater than participants who were not obese, which declined at a more gradual rate than participants who were not obese.
According to researchers, this quantification of satisfaction from food may be helpful in explaining why people eat the amount they do. As individuals consume more of a food item, they experience diminishing marginal taste perception, which means their level of perceived taste from additional consumption may tend to decline.
The researchers conducted a non-clinical, randomised controlled trial of 290 adults (161 with normal BMI, 78 considered overweight, and 51 considered obese) to measure instantaneous taste perceptions. The test also helped them analyse if marginal taste perceptions differ among participants of normal-weight, overweight and obese, and whether knowledge of nutritional information affects marginal taste perception.
In the study, about eighty percent of the participants were female, and ages ranged from 18 to 75 years.
Participants were offered one piece of chocolate at a time in a controlled environment; they could eat as much as they wanted without feeling uncomfortable. They consumed between two and 51 pieces.
Half of the study participants also learnt about the nutritional information about the chocolate before the chocolate tasting began. The study identified a consistent association between taste from food, specifically chocolate, and BMI by directly observing instantaneous taste changes over a period of time, rather than just at the beginning and end of a period of consumption, as in prior studies. As anticipated, researchers found that ratings generally went down after each piece of chocolate consumed with no significant difference in taste perceptions between normal and overweight participants reported.
"In our study population, people with obesity reported a higher level of satisfaction for each additional piece of chocolate compared to non-obese people. Thus, their taste preferences appear markedly different," noted co-investigator Aaron C. Miller