Gustatory responses and eating duration of obese and lean adults

S. A. Witherly, R. M. Pangborn, J. S. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Obese adults and matched controls were testing in two main experiments: (1) sweetness perception and preference in lemonade and corresponding judgments of viscosity in apricot nectar, and (2) length of time required to consume palatable and unpalatable foods. No significant differences were obtained between the obese and the lean adults in perception of sweetness intensity or degree of liking for lemonade containing from 6 to 18% sucrose. For apricot nectar, however, the obese subjects demonstrated significantly higher perceived viscosity, a lower degree of liking, and less discrimination than did the lean. Classification of a larger population of female adults, into 20 underweight, 33 normal, and 22 overweight, again resulted in no difference in hedonic responses to lemonade with an expanded sucrose content (2 to 30%). Relative to eating rates, the time required to consume sugar cookies or chocolate milk adulterated with NaCl was inversely related to palatability, with the obese taking longer to consume both. In a subsequent study, times required to consume a carrot stick, a cookie, and 240 ml of chocolate milk were similar between the two groups, although the obese drank the milk significantly faster. No significant correlations were obtained between percent ideal weight and any of the foregoing measurements. The large within-group variation overshadowed between-group differences, suggesting that gustatory and eating responses are related to factors independent of, or additional to, the singular measure of body size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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