The Taste of Complex Carbohydrates Pleases Some More Than Others

A new study in the Journal of Nutrition found that carbohydrate taste sensitivity is associated with starch intake and waist circumference in adults.

Woman cutting bread

Individual differences in taste sensitivity and the role of taste in  promoting intake of specific foods or ingredients associated with obesity have long been investigated but results are mixed.  Results from this new study demonstrate an association between complex carbohydrate sensing and consumption of complex carbohydrates, which may influence waist circumference (WC).  Participants who were orally more sensitive or those who experienced high intensity for complex carbohydrates consumed more energy and starchy foods per day and had larger WC measurements than participants who were orally less sensitive or experienced low intensity. Study findings suggest that oral complex carbohydrate sensitivity could play a role in energy and starch intake regulation.

We have known people respond to the taste of simple carbohydrates (sugars like glucose or fructose), which can impact their preference for food. This study is part of a body of evidence showing that we may be able to taste complex carbohydrates (i.e. starches). In other words, science is starting to explain why some of us prefer to reach for starchy snacks rather than sweets for our indulgences.