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Obes Rev. 2016 Jan;17(1):18-29. doi: 10.1111/obr.12340. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Sensory influences on food intake control: moving beyond palatability.

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Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, Centre for Translational Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore.
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore.
National University of Singapore, Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore.


The sensory experience of eating is an important determinant of food intake control, often attributed to the positive hedonic response associated with certain sensory cues. However, palatability is just one aspect of the sensory experience. Sensory cues based on a food's sight, smell, taste and texture are operational before, during and after an eating event. The focus of this review is to look beyond palatability and highlight recent advances in our understanding of how certain sensory characteristics can be used to promote better energy intake control. We consider the role of visual and odour cues in identifying food in the near environment, guiding food choice and memory for eating, and highlight the ways in which tastes and textures influence meal size and the development of satiety after consumption. Considering sensory characteristics as a functional feature of the foods and beverages we consume provides the opportunity for research to identify how sensory enhancements might be combined with energy reduction in otherwise palatable foods to optimize short-term energy intake regulation in the current food environment. Moving forward, the challenge for sensory nutritional science will be to assess the longer-term impact of these principles on weight management.


Food intake; palatability; sensory cues; texture

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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