Understanding sweet-liking phenotypes and their implications for obesity: narrative review and future directions

Armitage, Rhiannon M, Iatridi, Vasiliki and Yeomans, Martin R (2021) Understanding sweet-liking phenotypes and their implications for obesity: narrative review and future directions. Physiology and Behavior. a113398. ISSN 0031-9384

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Building on a series of recent studies that challenge the universality of sweet liking, here we review the evidence for multiple sweet-liking phenotypes which strongly suggest, humans fall into three hedonic response patterns: extreme sweet likers (ESL), where liking increases with sweetness, moderate sweet likers (MSL), who like moderate but not intense sweetness, and sweet dislikers (SD), who show increasing aversion as sweetness increases. This review contrasts how these phenotypes differ in body size and composition, dietary intake and behavioural measures to test the widely held view that sweet liking may be a key driver of obesity. Apart from increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in ESL, we found no clear evidence that sweet liking was associated with obesity and actually found some evidence that SD, rather than ESL, may have slightly higher body fat. We conclude that ESL may have heightened awareness of internal appetite cues that could protect against overconsumption and increased sensitivity to wider reward. We note many gaps in knowledge and the need for future studies to contrast these phenotypes in terms of genetics, neural processing of reward and broader measures of behaviour. There is also the need for more extensive longitudinal studies to determine the extent to which these phenotypes are modified by exposure to sweet stimuli in the context of the obesogenic environment.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2021 09:26
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2022 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/98051

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