Nutritional implications of genetic taste variation: The role of PROP sensitivity and other taste phenotypes

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Abstract

Genetic sensitivity to the bitter taste of phenylthiocarbamide and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) is a well-studied human trait. It has been hypothesized that this phenotype is a marker for individual differences in taste perception that influence food preferences and dietary behavior with subsequent links to body weight and chronic disease risk. Steady progress has been made over the past several decades in defining the involvement of this phenotype and its underlying gene, TAS2R38, in this complex behavioral pathway. However, more work needs to be done to fully determine its overall nutritional and health significance. The primary goal of this review is to assess our current understanding of the role of the PROP bitter taste phenotype in food selection and body weight in both children and adults. A brief history of the field is included and controversies surrounding the use of different PROP screening methods are addressed. The contribution of other receptors (both bitter and nonbitter) to human taste variation is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-388
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Nutrition
Volume28
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Keywords

  • 6-n-propylthiouracil
  • Body weight
  • Diet selection
  • Food preferences
  • Taste genetics

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