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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990 Mar;35(3):671-6.

Perception and hedonics of sweet and fat taste in smokers and nonsmokers following nicotine intake.

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Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213.


Nicotine's effects on reducing perception and/or hedonics of sweet and fat taste may lead to less intake of sweet tasting, high-fat foods by smokers, helping to explain their generally lower body weights. Smokers and nonsmokers (n = 10 males each) rated perception (intensity and sensitivity) and hedonics (liking) of sweet/fat taste in milk samples varying both in sucrose (0, 5, 10, 20% w/w) and fat (0.1, 3.5, 11.7, 37.6% w/w) concentration on two occasions, once following intermittent presentation of nicotine (15 micrograms/kg) via measured dose nasal spray and the other following placebo. Nicotine significantly reduced perceived intensity of fat but not sweet taste and had no effect on sensitivity to either taste. There was no effect of nicotine on hedonics of sweet/fat taste. On the other hand, although there were no differences between smokers and nonsmokers in perception of sweet or fat, hedonics of sweet/fat taste was reduced in smokers regardless of nicotine or placebo intake. Thus, nicotine may acutely decrease fat taste perception without influencing sweet/fat hedonics, while long-term exposure (i.e., being a smoker) may produce chronically decreased taste hedonics without altering perception.

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