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Appetite. 2002 Jun;38(3):201-9.

Relation between PROP (6-n-propylthiouracil) taster status, taste anatomy and dietary intake measures for young men and women.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


Previous studies have related 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) taster status to preference for, and consumption of various (bitter-tasting) foods recognized for their cancer-preventive properties. The aim of this study was to examine PROP taster status in relation to general measures of dietary intake as well as the consumption of specific food groups. College students (n=183) were classified as non-tasters (n=49), medium tasters (n=89) and supertasters (n=45) of PROP based on intensity ratings of NaCl and PROP solutions. Dietary intake measures were derived from a food frequency questionnaire and body mass indices (BMI) were derived from self-reported height and weight. Supertasters had higher fungiform papillae counts on the anterior tongue than tasters and non-tasters, yet the distributions of papillae counts overlapped across PROP taster groups. No significant differences were found for BMI values and energy intake among taster groups. PROP-tasting women derived a greater percentage of their dietary energy from fat, and consumed less fruit than non-tasters. PROP supertasters did not differ from tasters and non-tasters in intake of bitter fruits, vegetables or beverages except for a lesser intake of green salad. The hypothesis that PROP supertasters, through heightened sensitivity to, and avoidance of, bitter-tasting fruits, vegetables and other foods with antioxidant properties, may therefore be at increased risk for diet-linked diseases such as cancer, is not supported by these findings.

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