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Physiol Behav. 2003 Feb;78(2):247-53.

Effects of fat content on fat hedonics: cognition or taste?

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. dbowen@fhcrc.org


Understanding and perhaps overriding preferences for fat is important, given the relationship between higher dietary fat consumption and poorer health. We have examined the roles of potential mechanisms for differences in fat preference: actual fat content and expected fat content. The subjects were women (n=192, ages=50-69) recruited to a study of low-fat dietary change. Subjects were randomized to one of the four cells: participants received either a high- or low-fat milkshake at baseline, and half of each group was told that their milkshake was low in fat and the other half high in fat. Women who received a high-fat milkshake consumed more grams than women who received a low-fat milkshake. Women who expected low-fat shakes reported liking them more than those who expected high-fat milkshakes. These data indicate that both physiology and cognition play a role in determining consumption of high- and low-fat foods.

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