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Appetite. 1990 Jun;14(3):203-17.

Invisible fats: sensory assessment of sugar/fat mixtures.

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Program in Human Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of Michigan 48109-2029.


Fifty normal-weight college females tasted and rated 15 stimuli resembling cake frostings and composed of sucrose (20-77% weight/weight), butter (15-35% weight/weight), polydextrose and distilled water. Sweetness intensity ratings rose as a function of sucrose levels. In contrast, ratings of fat content were only poorly related to stimulus fat. Rather, the perception of fat depended on stimulus texture and was a combined function of fat, polydextrose and water. Increasing sucrose levels suppressed fatness ratings: sweeter stimuli were judged to be lower in fat content. The finding that sugar masks the sensory assessment of fats in some solid foods may help explain why so many sweet, high-fat desserts are commonly viewed as carbohydrate-rich foods. The acceptability of the frostings was a combined function of both sucrose and fat levels. Hedonic response profiles to sucrose solutions in water predicted sensory preferences for sweet frostings containing 15% fat, but not those containing 35% fat.

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