Effects of caloric deprivation and satiety on sensitivity of the gustatory system

BMC Neurosci. 2004 Feb 23;5:5. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-5-5.


Background: Sensitivity of the gustatory system could be modulated by a number of short-term and long-term factors such as body mass, gender, age, local and systemic diseases and pathological processes, excessive alcohol drinking, drug dependence, smoking, composition of oral fluid, state of oral hygiene, consumption of some foods among many others. A few studies have demonstrated the effects of hunger and caloric satiety on sensitivity of the gustatory system in obese humans and animals. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of short-term caloric deprivation and satiety on recognition taste thresholds of healthy, non-smoking, non-drinking, non-obese young male subjects. The two-alternative forced-choice technique was used to measure taste threshold.

Results: Recognition thresholds for sucrose and salt were significantly lower during fasting state than after a meal (t = 2.23, P < 0.05, and t = 2.86, P < 0.02, respectively) while the values of recognition thresholds for bitter substances in fasting state and after caloric loading did not differ significantly.

Conclusions: Short-term caloric deprivation in our study model was associated with increased taste sensitivity to sweet and salty substances compared to satiated state while taste sensitivity to bitter substances was not affected by the conditions of measurements. Selective modulation of sensitivity of the gustatory system might reflect the different biological importance of salty, sweet and bitter qualities of taste.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Male
  • Quinine / pharmacology
  • Satiety Response / physiology*
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Threshold / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Quinine