Overweight people really DO enjoy their food more than other adults, study finds
- Researchers at the University of Iowa studied 161 people of various sizes
- They found obese women needed to eat 12.5 pieces of chocolate to fall to the same level of taste perception as non-obese women who ate only 10 pieces
- People who were hungrier before eating were more likely to enjoy the food
- Women stopped enjoying (or, ‘perceiving’) the food quicker than men
- Hearing nutritional information prior to eating the chocolate didn’t affect their enjoyment
Food tastes better to fat people – and this may be fueling the obesity crisis, a new study claims.
The research suggest that a key factor in overeating is that some people get much more pleasure from the taste of food.
Researchers found that as they munched their way through a bar of chocolate, the enjoyment level of obese people remained higher for longer.
But slimmer people began to enjoy the taste less as time went on.
Obese women needed to eat 12.5 pieces of chocolate to fall to the same level of taste perception as non-obese women who ate only 10 pieces
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tested levels of satisfaction among adults who were normal-weight, overweight, and obese.
Professor Linnea Polgreen of the University of Iowa and her team conducted a controlled trial of 290 adults.
Of these, 161 had normal body mass index (BMI), 78 were considered overweight, and 51 obese. Eighty percent of the participants were female, and the ages ranged from 18 to 75.
The participants were offered and rated one piece of chocolate at a time in a controlled environment and could eat as much as they wanted without feeling uncomfortable.
They ate between two and 51 pieces.
The researchers also found that people who were hungrier prior to the study had greater taste perception, while women’s taste perceptions declined faster than men’s.
But providing nutritional information prior to eating the chocolate didn’t affect taste perception, according to the findings.
Co-investigator Dr Aaron Miller said: ‘In our study population, people with obesity reported a higher level of satisfaction for each additional piece of chocolate compared to non-obese people.
‘Thus, their taste preferences appear markedly different.
‘Our findings further indicate that obese participants needed to consume a greater quantity of chocolate than non-obese participants to experience a similar decline in taste perceptions.
‘Specifically, obese women needed to eat 12.5 pieces of chocolate to fall to the same level of taste perception as non-obese women who ate only 10 pieces, which corresponds to a difference of 67.5 calories.’
He added: ‘This may, in part, explain why obese people consume more than non-obese people.’
Study lead investigator Professor Linnea Polgreen, of the University of Iowa in the United States, said: ‘Obesity is a major public-health problem.
‘Taste perceptions may lead to overeating. If people with obesity have different taste perceptions than non-obese people, it could lead to better understanding of obesity and possibly designing new approaches to prevent obesity.’