Patterns of Sweet Taste Liking: A Pilot Study

Nutrients. 2015 Aug 31;7(9):7298-311. doi: 10.3390/nu7095336.


Two distinct patterns of sweet taste liking have been described: one showing a peak liking response in the mid-range of sucrose concentrations and the other showing a monotonic liking response at progressively higher sucrose concentrations. Classification of these patterns has been somewhat arbitrary. In this report, we analyzed patterns of sweet taste liking in a pilot study with 26 adults including 14 women and 12 men, 32.6 ± 14.5 years of age with body mass index 26.4 ± 5.1 kg/m² (mean ± SD). Sweet taste liking was measured for 10 levels of sucrose solutions (0.035 M to 1.346 M). Participants rated their liking of each solution using a visual analog scale with 0 indicating strongly disliking and 100 strongly liking. The cluster analysis demonstrated two distinct groups: 13 liked relatively low sucrose concentrations and liked high sucrose concentrations less, and 13 liked high sucrose concentrations greatly. If we use the 0.598 M sucrose solution alone and a cutoff liking score of 50, we can distinguish the two clusters with high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (100%). If validated in additional studies, this simple tool may help us to better understand eating behaviors and the impact of sweet taste liking on nutrition-related disorders.

Keywords: liking; sucrose; sweet taste; taste.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Sucrose