Taste is fundamentally important for food selection. Although measures of taste sensitivity and preference have been refined over several decades, it remains largely unknown how these measures relate to each other and to food preferences. The objectives of this study were to examine, in healthy adults (age 24.6 ± 0.6 years, n = 49), 1) correlations among measures of taste sensitivity, including detection threshold (DT) and suprathreshold sensitivity (ST), and taste preference (PR) within sweet, salt, sour, umami, and ... fat tastes; and 2) underlying associations ... among DT, ST, and PR measurements using principal component analysis. DTs and STs were negatively correlated within each taste modality. Salt, sweet, and umami DTs and STs were positively and negatively correlated with PRs, respectively. No correlations were observed between sour and fat DTs, STs, and PRs. Two principal components accounted for 41.9% of the variance and produced 3 clear clusters consisting of DTs, STs, or PRs from each taste modality. Sweet PR and fat ST deviated from the clusters and may, therefore, be driven by different factors. No associations were observed between measured PR and ST with self-reported food PRs. Overall, this study provides evidence that higher sensitivities only to salt, sweet, or umami taste are associated with a decrease in the PR for these tastes. These findings demonstrate the importance of investigating taste sensitivity together with PR to gain a more complete understanding of the determinants of food selection.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact [email protected]