PROP taster status and self-perceived food adventurousness influence food preferences

J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Apr;104(4):543-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2004.01.011.


Objective: To determine the influence of 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) taster status and food adventurousness on liking of bitter, hot, and pungent foods.

Design: Self-reported survey of food likes/dislikes for 70 foods. Subjects were classified as tasters or nontasters of PROP using a standard screening procedure. By their response to a query regarding their perceived frequency of trying unfamiliar foods, subjects were characterized as being more or less adventurous.

Subjects: A convenience sample of 232 healthy adults, 18 to 55 years of age, was recruited from the local community. Statistical analyses Individual foods were grouped using Principal Component Analysis. Analysis of variance was used to assess differences in liking of food groups as a function of PROP status and food adventurousness.

Results: PROP tasters who were more food adventurous liked chili peppers and hot sauce, other pungent condiments, strong alcohol, and bitter fruits and vegetables more than tasters who were less food adventurous (P< or =.05-.001). Nontasters liked most foods, and food adventurousness had little influence on food liking for these individuals.

Conclusions: Food adventurous PROP tasters liked a wide variety of strong-tasting foods, whereas tasters who were less food adventurous showed the classic dislike of bitter, hot, and pungent foods. Previous studies might have overestimated the influence of PROP taster status on rejection of strong-tasting foods by not distinguishing individuals by food adventurousness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antimetabolites
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Food Preferences* / physiology
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Propylthiouracil* / metabolism
  • Taste / genetics
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste Buds / physiology*
  • Taste Threshold / physiology*
  • Vegetables


  • Antimetabolites
  • Propylthiouracil