Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Healthy and "sustainable" diets are neutral in taste; include less umami, salt, fat and bitter tastes

Taste profiles of diets high and low in environmental sustainability and health. L.M. van Bussel et al. Food Quality and Preference, June 21 2019, 103730. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.103730

•    Taste profiles differ between subgroups high and low on sustainability and health.
•    Healthy and sustainable diets are neutral in taste (39.4 en%)
•    Healthy and sustainable diets include less umami, salt, fat and bitter tastes.

Abstract: To mitigate the effects of climate change, we need to shift towards a more sustainable and healthier diet. This presumably affects the taste and texture of the diet. We assessed the taste profiles of current diets, of healthier and more sustainable diets and of less healthy and less sustainable diets in a Dutch adult population (n=1380) in the Nutritional Questionnaire Plus study. The Dutch Healthy Diet index and the pReCiPe-score were used to create tertiles by healthiness and sustainability of diets respectively. Based on the lowest and highest tertiles of these two indicators we constructed four subgroups. For each participant, we calculated the proportional contribution of taste clusters (n=6) to the total daily energy intake (en%) and the total amount consumed (gram%) using a taste database including ∼469 foods. The six taste clusters consisted of 1) neutral, 2) salt, umami, fat, 3) sweet, sour, 4) sweet, fat, 5) fat and 6) bitter tasting foods. ANOVA was used to evaluate the differences between subjects in the extreme tertiles. Results show that participants who have a healthier and more sustainable diet consumed less food products from the taste cluster ‘umami, salt, fat’ (16.1 en%) and ‘bitter’ (17.1 gram%) and more products from the taste cluster ‘neutral’ (41.9 en%) compared to participants that have a less healthy and less sustainable diet (umami, salt, fat: 25.6 en%; bitter: 29.0 gram%; neutral: 33.0 en%). Therefore, taste profiles should be taken into account when proposing menus and diets that are healthier and more sustainable.

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