Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar

Date:
April 3, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Cigarette smoking among obese women appears to interfere with their ability to taste fats and sweets, a new study shows. Despite craving high-fat, sugary foods, these women were less likely than others to perceive these tastes, which may drive them to consume more calories. "Obese people often crave high-fat foods," she said. "Our findings suggest that having this intense craving but not perceiving fat and sweetness in food may lead these women to eat more. Since smoking and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the additional burden of craving more fats and sugars, while not fully tasting them, could be detrimental to health."

Washington University investigator M. Yanina Pepino, PhD, has found that cigarette smoking among obese women interferes with the ability to taste fats and sweets and may drive them to consume more calories.
Credit: Robert Boston

Cigarette smoking among obese women appears to interfere with their ability to taste fats and sweets, a new study shows. Despite craving high-fat, sugary foods, these women were less likely than others to perceive these tastes, which may drive them to consume more calories.

M. Yanina Pepino, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Julie Mennella, PhD, a biopsychologist at the Monell Center in Philadelphia, where the research was conducted, studied four groups of women ages 21 to 41: obese smokers, obese nonsmokers, smokers of normal weight and nonsmokers of normal weight. The women tasted several vanilla puddings containing varying amounts of fat and were asked to rate them for sweetness and creaminess, a measure of fat content.

"Compared with the other three groups, smokers who were obese perceived less creaminess and sweetness," Pepino said. "They also derived less pleasure from tasting the puddings."

The findings are published in the April issue of the journal Obesity.

Pepino cautioned that the study only identified associations between smoking and taste rather than definitive reasons why obese smokers were less likely to detect fat and sweetness. But the findings imply that the ability to perceive fat and sweetness -- and to derive pleasure from food -- is compromised in female smokers who are obese, which could contribute to the consumption of more calories.

"Obese people often crave high-fat foods," she said. "Our findings suggest that having this intense craving but not perceiving fat and sweetness in food may lead these women to eat more. Since smoking and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the additional burden of craving more fats and sugars, while not fully tasting them, could be detrimental to health."

Interestingly, it was the combination of smoking and obesity that created something of a "double-whammy" because smokers who were not overweight could perceive fat and sweetness that was similar to women who did not smoke.

Previous studies have linked smoking to increased food cravings and greater consumption of fat, regardless of whether a smoker is obese. Studies also have found that smokers tend to have increased waist-to-hip ratios. That is, they tend to be shaped more like apples than pears, another risk factor for heart disease and metabolic problems.

The findings contribute to a growing body of knowledge that challenges the lingering perception that smoking helps a person maintain a healthy weight.

"Women are much more likely than men to take up smoking as an aid to weight control," Pepino said. "But there is no good evidence showing that it helps maintain a healthy weight over the long term. And in the case of obese women who smoke, it appears the smoking may make things even worse than previously thought."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Jim Dryden. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marta Yanina Pepino, Julie A. Mennella. Cigarette smoking and obesity are associated with decreased fat perception in women. Obesity, 2014; 22 (4): 1050 DOI: 10.1002/oby.20697

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403154504.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, April 3). Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403154504.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140403154504.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins