Comparisons of fatty acid taste detection thresholds in people who are lean vs. overweight or obese: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Academic Article


  • Given the increasing evidence that supports the ability of humans to taste non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), recent studies have sought to determine if relationships exist between oral sensitivity to NEFA (measured as thresholds), food intake and obesity. Published findings suggest there is either no association or an inverse association. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to determine if differences in fatty acid taste sensitivity or intensity ratings exist between individuals who are lean or obese. A total of 7 studies that reported measurement of taste sensations to non-esterified fatty acids by psychophysical methods (e.g.,studies using model systems rather than foods, detection thresholds as measured by a 3-alternative forced choice ascending methodology were included in the meta-analysis. Two other studies that measured intensity ratings to graded suprathreshold NEFA concentrations were evaluated qualitatively. No significant differences in fatty acid taste thresholds or intensity were observed. Thus, differences in fatty acid taste sensitivity do not appear to precede or result from obesity.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tucker RM; Kaiser KA; Parman MA; George BJ; Allison DB; Mattes RD
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 1