New Research Links Taste Sensitivity to Weight Problems

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Dr. Stephen Cook, an associate professor at the Golisano Children’s Hospital finds that the taste buds of obese kids are conditioned through repetitive taste choices.

“They may get so used to certain flavors, they need to consume them at an ever-increasing threshold to notice their taste,” Cook said.  

Previous studies have noted that people with heightened taste buds tend to eat less because they can get more flavor out of one bite in comparison to people whose taste sensitivities aren’t as keen.

A 2010 Australian study found that people who had highly sensitive taste sensations to fatty foods tended to eat less of it. The study’s author, Russell Keats believes this new German study has some flaws.

“The number [of subjects] is small, taste strips are not a great method to indicate taste function, and identification of taste may be related to other cognitive issues rather than anything to do with taste function,” Keats noted.

Cook said he’s interested in seeing how the study results could change if the participants were American children, who typically eat more processed foods.

“Since they have different exposures, I’m not sure the results would be the same,” Cook said.

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