Sweet and bitter taste perception of women during pregnancy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Introduction: Changes in sweet and bitter taste perception during pregnancy have been reported in a limited number of studies leading, however, to inconclusive results. The current study aimed to investigate possible differences in perceived intensity and liking of sweetness and bitterness between pregnant and nonpregnant women. Methods: Forty-six pregnant and 45 nonpregnant women evaluated taste intensity and liking of five samples of each of four different products: two sweet (cake and apple + berry juice) and two bitter (salad and grapefruit juice). Product samples varied in sweetness and bitterness, respectively. Pregnant women completed also a self-administered questionnaire on changes in sweet and bitter taste perception due to pregnancy. Results: Perceived intensity of sweetness and bitterness was not different between pregnant and nonpregnant women for any of the products. However, the liking of the least sweet apple + berry juice was significantly higher, and the optimal preferred sugar content was significantly lower in pregnant compared to nonpregnant women. With regards to self-report, pregnant women who reported higher sensitivity in sweet or bitter taste did not have significantly different intensity scores from those with no self-reported changes. The apple + berry juice sample highest in sugar content was liked less by pregnant women who reported higher sensitivity toward sweet taste compared to those who reported no change. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that pregnant women may prefer lower sugar content in a juice mixture compared to nonpregnant women. Future research should focus on the possible occurrence of this phenomenon in other beverages and foods, as well.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChemosensory Perception
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Food, Liking, Perceived intensity, Pregnancy, Self-report, Taste sensitivity

ID: 171656124