2016 Volume 82 Issue 3 Pages 99-109
In order to obtain basic data useful for improving the dietary habits, we investigated the relationship between decreased general taste sensitivity and the dietary habits as well as stress in young women, paying particular attention to appropriate taste sensitivity from a young age. In the taste sensitivity test, the thresholds for the tastes of sweetness, saltiness, acidity and bitterness were determined using a filter-paper disk diffusion method in the tongue tip region and soft palate region. In addition, a nutritional investigation based on a self-administered questionnaire “meal menu and intake time-based semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (MMITQ)”, measurement of salivary alpha amylase activity, and an evaluation using the STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) questionnaire were carried out. The subjects were 84 of 249 students of a womenʼs junior college in Tokyo who had no chronic diseases and could participate in the re-examination at least 3 times during the investigation period of 8 days from June 2010 to July 2013 (average age, 19.3 ± 1.2 years). The results showed that as compared to that in the normal taste sensitivity group (60 subjects 71.4%), the percentage of subjects with the drinking habit and/or intake of dietary supplements was higher in the decreased taste sensitivity group (24 subjects, 28.6%) (p=0.034 and 0.041, respectively). The average intake of zinc was 7.7 mg in the decreased taste sensitivity group, which was significantly lower than the average intake of 8.5mg in the normal taste sensitivity group (p=0.041). On the other hand, the average intakes of magnesium and salt equivalent in the decreased taste sensitivity group were significantly higher than those in the normal taste sensitivity group (magnesium: p=0.048, salt equivalent: p=0.037). There were no significant differences between the two groups in the salivary alpha amylase activity, or in the characteristic/unstable state score. These results suggest that the tendency towards decreased taste sensitivity observed in young women may be related to habitual drinking and intake of dietary supplements, as well as to a poor daily intake of zinc and excessive intakes of magnesium and/or salt equivalent.