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Understanding variety: Tasting different foods delays satiation

Physiology & Behavior
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.10.012
  • Food Intake
  • Satiation
  • Sensory Specific Satiety
  • Variety
  • Distraction


Abstract Variety stimulates intake by as much as 40% following both simultaneous and sequential presentations. Varying sensory and other characteristics of foods could sustain interest in eating and delay the development of satiation. Two experiments set out to explore this by investigating the effect of introducing different foods to taste and rate during intake of a snack. In Experiment 1, 33 participants (23 female) attended the lab on four occasions, to eat sweet or salted popcorn (depending on preference). In a counterbalanced order participants ate ad libitum (control), or were interrupted during eating to taste and rate either the food they were eating (same condition: SC), another food with shared taste characteristics (congruent condition: CC) or a food with a different taste (incongruent condition: IC). Overall participants consumed significantly more in CC and IC than in SC [ F(3, 90) = 2.74, p < 0.05], and pleasantness ratings of the eaten food during CC and IC remained high relative to SC, demonstrating a delay in the normal decline in pleasantness associated with satiation. In Experiment 2, 47 participants (31 female) were allocated to either a food focus (FF) or food distraction (FD) condition, in which intake of chocolate was interrupted during eating to taste and rate chocolate only (FF) or this food and a cheese cracker (FD). FD (94 ± 9.3 g) participants ate significantly more than FF (68 ± 9.5 g) and in support of findings from Experiment 1 pleasantness ratings during eating declined more rapidly during FF than FD. Variety may stimulate food intake, in part, by delaying the development of satiation which extends eating and therefore amount consumed. Encouraging consumers to focus on eating should facilitate the normal decline in pleasantness of the food and serve to limit intake.

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