Seasoning ingredient variety, but not quality, is associated with greater intake of beans and rice among urban Costa Rican adults

Nutr Res. 2016 Aug;36(8):780-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.04.001. Epub 2016 Apr 7.


Exposure to a variety of flavors may promote food enjoyment, but few studies have examined the relationship between food seasoning and food intake. We hypothesized that using a higher variety (number) of 11 seasonings to prepare 2 staple foods (beans, white rice) would be associated with intake of those foods in a population-based case-control study of Costa Rican adults in urban vs rural areas (n=1025), where cooking and dietary practices differ. Participants were surveyed about the variety of seasoning ingredients added when preparing beans or rice. Ingredients were also categorized by their dietary quality (healthfulness), and scores for seasoning variety and quality were created. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine the association between variety and quality scores (continuously and in tertiles (T)) and intake of each staple food. Seasoning variety was positively associated with daily servings of beans (β=.02, P=.01; 1.31 and 1.23 servings/day in T2 and T3 versus 1.02 servings/day in T1, P<.05) and rice (β=.04, P=.005) in the urban areas only. No differences in ingredient quality across increasing intakes of beans or rice were noted, and the joint associations between variety and quality were not significant. In conclusion, a greater variety, but not quality, of seasoning ingredients was positively associated with intakes of beans and rice in urban Costa Rican adults. Our results suggest that increasing the variety of seasonings added to beans may be a culturally-appropriate strategy to improve intake of this healthy staple food among urban Costa Rican adults.

Keywords: Bean and rice intake; Case-control; Hispanic and Latino health; Seasoning; Variety and diet quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Condiments*
  • Cooking / methods
  • Costa Rica
  • Diet*
  • Eating
  • Fabaceae*
  • Female
  • Food Quality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oryza*
  • Spices
  • Taste*
  • Urban Population*