The sensory properties of foods and beverages play an important role in shaping our eating behaviours and the dietary patterns that influence health and well-being. Sensory evaluation has traditionally focused on quantifying sensations and relating these to food preferences. However, these perceptual signals are also influential in guiding energy intake beyond their role in preferences. Food odours, tastes and textures influence portion selection, oral-processing behaviours and the post-ingestive experience of satiety, and collectively inform the food intake patterns that underpin the diet. In addition to rating perceptual responses to foods, we are interested in exploring how eating behaviour and energy intake changes in response to the sensory properties experienced during the meal. Our studies have explored how a food’s texture can be used to moderate eating rate (g/min) and meal size, and in both children and adults, and we have shown associations between faster eating rates, energy intake and body composition in children. By profiling the eating rates of a wide range of foods we have demonstrated how food texture can be used to slow food intake, and moderate energy consumption within a meal. Sensory cues can also be used to conceal underlying differences in energy density and our research has explored the impact of covert energy density manipulations in sensory and volume matched foods. Through this we have demonstrated that modifications to the energy density of the food have negligible impact on later energy intake when the sensory appeal is maintained. This creates an opportunity to use sensory properties to conceal energy density changes and use food textures to guide eating behaviours to support a satisfying product experience for fewer calories. Understanding how sensory properties influence both perception and ingestion can inform the development of successful behavioural and dietary strategies for better management of chronic conditions such as obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Food Quality and Preference – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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