Study protocol of the sweet tooth study, randomized controlled trial with partial food provision on the effect of low, regular and high dietary sweetness exposure on sweetness preferences in Dutch adults

Eva M. Čad*, Claudia S. Tang, Hanne B.T. de Jong, Monica Mars, Katherine M. Appleton, Kees de Graaf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Several health organizations recommend lowering the consumption of sweet-tasting foods. The rationale behind this recommendation is that a lower exposure to sweet foods may reduce preferences for sweet tasting foods, thus lowering sugar and energy intake, and in turn aiding in obesity prevention. However, empirical data supporting this narrative are lacking. In fact, relatively little is known about the contribution of long-term sweet taste exposure on one’s sweetness preferences. Methods: The primary objective of this randomized controlled trial is to assess the effect of low, regular and high dietary sweetness exposure on preference for sweet foods and beverages, and to compare these effects between intervention groups. One hundred and eighty adults aged 18–65 years with a BMI of 18.5–30.0 kg/m2 will be recruited and randomly allocated to either: low dietary sweetness exposure (LSE) (10–15% daily energy from sweet tasting foods), regular dietary sweetness exposure (RSE) (25–30% daily energy from sweet tasting foods), or high dietary sweetness exposure (HSE) (40–45% daily energy from sweet tasting foods), for 6 months, followed by a 4-month follow up. Intervention foods are provided ad libitum, covering approximately 50% of the daily number of food items, to include sugar-sweetened, low-calorie-sweetener-sweetened and non-sweet foods. The primary outcome measure is the difference in change in sweetness preference from baseline to 6 months between intervention groups. Secondary outcomes include: change in sweet taste preferences at different time-points; taste intensity perception; behavioral outcomes: food choice and intake, sweet-liker type, food cravings, dietary taste preferences and dietary taste patterns; anthropometric outcomes: body composition, waist-hip circumference, body weight; and biochemical outcomes: glucose variability and biomarkers related to CVD and diabetes. Discussion: This study will generate important data on the effect of dietary sweetness exposure on sweetness preferences in terms of effect size and change, duration of change and its impact on food intake, body weight status and associated health outcomes. Trial Registration: The study protocol has been registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (ID no. NCT04497974, Registered 4 August 2020, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04497974) and approved by Wageningen’s Medical Ethical Committee (ABR no. NL72134).

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Exposure
  • Food preferences
  • Sweet taste
  • Sweetness
  • Taste perception

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