Objective: Limited data are available with regard to longitudinal changes in body weight by food taste preference. Here, we examined the associations between taste preferences and weight change in adults for a large-scale cohort study in Japan.
Design: Longitudinal analysis of data from a population-based cohort study, the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study).
Subjects: A total of 29,103 middle-aged men and women, who participated in a JPHC Study and returned questionnaires on lifestyle and diet, including taste preferences, at both baseline and the 10th year of follow-up.
Measurements: We assessed the relations of preferences for rich and heavy taste and a sweet taste to weight changes between the age of 20 years and baseline and those during the 10-year follow-up period.
Results: Preferences for rich and heavy taste and for sweet taste were significantly positively associated with weight increases between the age of 20 years and baseline (P for trend <0.001); the fully adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) comparing the 'like' versus 'dislike' groups with a preference for rich and heavy taste were 1.45 (1.31-1.24) for men and 1.28 (1.16-1.41) for women, whereas that for a sweet taste preference was 1.22 (1.09-1.36) for women. As regards weight change during the 10 years of follow-up, subjects who liked the sweet taste and those who neither liked nor disliked this taste experienced a significantly greater increase than those who disliked it in both men and women. There was no such difference for rich and heavy taste.
Conclusion: These results suggest that food taste preferences may be an important predictor of weight changes in adults. Taste preferences need to be considered when counseling patients to achieve weight control.