Taste Sensitivity in Type One Diabetics and Their Non-Diabetic Equivalents: Does this Affect Dietary Intake?
Cook, Charlotte Sally Anne
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study aimed to evaluate sweet and bitter sensitivity in type one diabetics compared to non-diabetic equivalents to establish whether this significantly affects their dietary intake. A participant information questionnaire was used to match diabetic participants to non- diabetic equivalents, based on age, sex, BMI and ethnicity controls. This warranted the influence of these confounders on taste to be assumed negligible. An ascending forced-choice method of threshold assessment was used. Sucrose and caffeine solutions for which were prepared according to university approved protocol based on BS ISO 3973:2011. A food frequency questionnaire adapted to record sweet and bitter foods was administered directly after threshold assessment. This was used to quantify participant dietary intake. A combination of opportunistic and purposive sampling was used to recruit participants who consisted of six diabetics and six matched controls. While no significant results were found – potentially due to limited participants – several trends were identified from the data. Non-diabetic participants were shown to have an increased perception of bitter. Sensitivity to bitter - regardless of diabetic status- influenced bitter food intake, with those more sensitive eating less bitter foods. This may be conducive to reduced preference. Bitter sensitivity shows a tendency to decrease over length of condition in diabetic participants, which supports current thinking that blunted taste may result as a complication of the condition. Diabetics were found to consume sweet foods more frequently than in previous studies. Although not tested, this may be indicative of poor glycaemic control among participants, Overall, the study indicated an altered taste perception in diabetics compared to non- diabetic controls, particularly in bitter tastes. Sensitivity to bitter tastants indicates the negative impact diabetes can have on taste sensitivity, and can be shown to affect consumption.
BSc (Hons) Food Science and Technology
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