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Physiol Behav. 1991 Jun;49(6):1037-42.

Weight loss and sweetness preferences: the effects of recent versus past weight loss.

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  • 1Rutgers University, Department of Psychology, Piscataway, NJ 08855.


The present study examined the effects of weight loss, recent and past, on perceptions of pleasantness and sweetness intensity of sucrose solutions. Subjects high or low in current weight loss, and high or low in past weight loss (weight suppression) rated sucrose solutions before and after the ingestion of a glucose solution. Current weight loss was total weight loss over the 3 months prior to the study; past weight loss was defined in terms of the difference between maximal and current weight. Subjects were 40 women, all of whom reported that they were dieting. After a 12-hour overnight fast, each subject tasted and rated five concentrations of sucrose solutions (2.5, 5.0, 10.0, 20.0, and 40.0) for pleasantness and sweetness. High weight suppressors rated the sucrose solutions, before and after the glucose load, as significantly less pleasant than did low weight suppressors. High recent weight losers rated the sucrose solutions as significantly more pleasant than did low current weight losers following, but not prior to, the glucose load. These results were inconsistent with setpoint theory. High weight suppressors did not show an increase in sweetness preference as predicted by this theory. It was suggested that while weight loss affects taste hedonics, the nature of this relationship depends on the recency of the weight loss.

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