Topical Area: Dietary Bioactive Components
Objectives : It is known that the degree of polymerization (DP) of flavanol compounds influences the perceived bitter and astringent sensations of flavanol-rich foods. Previous research has indicated that preference for bitterness and astringency is related to health status (i.e. obesity) and sensitivity to bitter compounds such as 6-n-propyl-thiouracil (PROP). The objective of this study was to examine trends in liking, bitterness intensity, and astringency intensity of wine-like products with distinct flavanols of different DP in a consumer sensory panel when consumers were differentiated by phenotype.
Methods : Recruited panelists (n=102) were segmented into different phenotypes based on body fat percentage (BF%), body mass index, PROP sensitivity, and stated preference for bitter foods. Differences in overall product liking, perceived bitterness intensity, and astringency intensity were observed between the three wine samples formulated to contain varying flavanol mDP.
Considering the panelists altogether without segmentation, overall liking and bitterness liking decreased with increasing flavanol mDP, with concurrent increased perception of bitterness and astringency intensity. When looking at specific phenotypes, subjects of higher BMI and BF% showed significantly reduced ability to detect differences in bitterness and astringency intensity. Interestingly and unexpectedly, PROP sensitivity and self-reported bitterness preference did not significantly correlate with liking and intensity trends based on flavanol mDP.
Overall, these data suggest that BF% and BMI are greater predictors of liking and sensitivity to flavanol-rich foods compared bitterness sensitivity and self-reported bitterness liking. Reduced perception of bitterness and astringency associated with weight gain may impact selection and preference for these foods.
Funding Sources :
Funding for this work was provided in part by the Virginia Tech Translational Obesity Research Graduate Interdisciplinary Research Program and the Virginia Tech Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Hatch Program, USDA-NIFA.