Project Title

Stress & Sweet Taste Preference

Name of Award

APDC Faculty Research & Scholarly Activities Grant

Date Awarded

5-7-2017

Department/School

Nutrition and Exercise Sciences

Project Description

Nuala Bobowski, Assistant Professor of Nutrition Science, received $7,463 to examine whether the most preferred level of sweet taste increases between periods of relatively low and high stress among college-age women and to determine whether any increase in sweet taste preference is related to increase intake of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. Sweet taste preference will be measured using a two-series, forced-choice, and paired-comparison tracking technique.

Using solutions instead of foods or beverages removes the influence of culture or experience on taste hedonics, isolating response to the pure taste of the stimulus. Use of the method has revealed consistent differences in sweet taste preference as a function of age, race/ethnicity, taste receptor genotype, family history of alcoholism, and depressive symptomatology, providing insight into individual differences that may influence sugar intake. Findings from the proposed research will determine whether modulation of sweet taste preference plays a role in the stress-induced intake of sweetened, calorically-dense foods, setting the stage for the future development of targeted, evidence-based strategies for reducing added sugars intake among women.

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