Effects of Salt and Fat Combinations on Taste Preference and Perception

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Abstract

Fat and salt are a common and attractive combination in food and overconsumption of either is associated with negative health outcomes. The major aim was to investigate contributions and interactions of salt and fat on taste pleasantness and perception. The minor aim was to investigate individual fat taste sensitivity (detection threshold of oleic acid [C18:1]) on pleasantness for fat. In a complete factorial design, 49 participants (18–54 years, 12 males) tasted tomato soups with 4 different fat concentrations (0–20%) and 5 different salt concentrations (0.04–2.0%). The preferred concentration and the discrimination ability for both fat and salt were determined by ranking tests. Results show that salt and fat affected pleasantness separately (P < 0.01), with salt having the strongest effect. Fat concentrations 0%, 5%, and 10% did not differ in pleasantness, whereas 20% was less pleasant (P < 0.05). There were no interactions for fat and salt on pleasantness or saltiness and fattiness intensity. Fat taste sensitive participants preferred lower fat concentrations than less sensitive participants (P = 0.008). In conclusion, the strong effect of salt on pleasantness in this study suggests that salt, rather than fat, play a major role in the attraction to savory fatty foods.

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