Increased taste sensitivity of complex carbohydrates may lead to increased energy consumption.
Increased consumption of energy dense foods is one of the contributors to the ever increasing rate of overweight and obesity. Carbohydrates – in both simple form, like raw and brown sugar, corn syrup and sucrose, and complex form found in vegetables and whole grains – are a major source of energy in the diet.
The contention has long been held that complex carbohydrates are less perceptible to human taste, unlike simple ones that people may be more sensitive to. Taste may play an important role in determining food enjoyment and how much people consume but evidence in the area is mixed. Researchers looked into this potential link further, investigating the association between carbohydrate sensitivity, dietary intake and waist circumference.
The study involved a small group of men and women. Demographic and anthropometric information was collected in addition to dietary intake information. Measures of taste perception for two complex carbohydrates were recorded and oral sensitivity was determined.
Researchers observed a correlation between oral complex carbohydrate sensitivity and waist circumference and mean total energy intake. In both cases, the more sensitive participants were, the larger the waist circumference and the more energy consumed per day.
This was a small study so more evidence is needed to further understand the link between taste perceptions and sensitivity, and food intake and weight outcomes. It may be that people who are extra sensitive to certain foods and are more likely to overindulge.