Dietary fat restriction increases fat taste sensitivity in people with obesity

Lisa P. Newman, Dieuwerke P. Bolhuis, Susan J. Torres, Russell S.J. Keast*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Individuals with obesity may be less sensitive to the taste of fat, and it is hypothesized that this is due to excess dietary fat intake. This study assessed the effect of a 6-week low-fat (LF) or portion control (PC) diet matched for weight loss on fat taste thresholds, fat perception, and preference in people with overweight/obesity. Methods Participants (n = 53) completed a randomized dietary intervention and consumed either a LF diet (25% fat) or PC diet (33% fat) for 6 weeks. Fat taste thresholds (lowest detectable fat concentration), fat perception (discrimination ability), preference, and anthropometry were assessed at baseline and week 6. Results Consumption of a LF diet (n = 26) and PC diet (n = 27) reduced participants' weight (P < 0.001), with no significant differences between groups (LF, -2.9%, PC, -2.7%). Both diets resulted in a decrease in fat taste thresholds (P = 0.014), and the effect tended to be stronger in the LF diet vs. the PC diet (P = 0.060). The ability to perceive different fat concentrations in foods was increased after the LF diet only (P = 0.017); however, food preference did not change on either diet. Conclusions A PC and LF diet both increase fat taste sensitivity in people with overweight/obesity, with the strongest effect after the LF diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-334
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

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