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Background: Previous studies have suggested that vegetarians have a lower risk of overweight and obesity than do non-vegetarians. However, little is known about how meat consumption interacts with taste perception, thereby influencing food intake and body weight.

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship of meat consumption with 6-npropylthiouracil (PROP) sensitivity, food liking, food intake and body mass index in female long term vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Methods: A cross-sectional design with a total of 94 racially diverse female subjects (mean age 23 years, 42 vegetarians, 52 non-vegetarians) living in the New York City area was used in this study. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated using the measured weight and height and PROP sensitivity was assessed using a PROP filter paper disk method and a general Labeled Magnitude Scale (gLMS). The subjects also completed a questionnaire to report the food liking/disliking for 19 food items using a hedonic version of the gLMS. Dietary intake was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire.

Results: The PROP sensitivity of vegetarians was significantly higher than that of non-vegetarians. Vegetarians showed significantly less liking of fat foods than did non-vegetarians, whereas there was no significant difference in sweet foods liking. The BMI, energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, B vitamins, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, and alcohol intake values of the vegetarians were significantly lower than those of the non-vegetarians. Multiple regression results revealed that only vegetarian status significantly contributed to the predictions of all the dependent variables, energy intake, fat intake and BMI.

Conclusion: The study findings suggest that a difference in taste perception between vegetarians and non-vegetarians may play a role in determining energy intake and weight status. Further studies are needed to examine the mechanisms by which habitual meat consumption affect taste perception and thus food intake.


Originally published as: Choi, Sung-Eun. "Comparisons of 6-n-Propylthiouracil (PROP) Sensitivity, Food Liking and Food Intake between Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Women." Journal of Obesity and Weight Loss Therapy, vol. 5, no. 2, 2015. doi: 10.4172/2165-7904.1000255

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