Background and objectives: Taste perception plays a key role in consumer acceptance and food choice, which has an important impact on human health. Our aim was to examine the relationship between taste intensities and preferences of sweet (sucrose), salty (sodium chloride and potassium chloride), sour (citric acid), and bitter (quinine and phenylthiocarbamide) in relation to dietary intake and dietary patterns in people of Chinese ancestry.
Methods and study design: This cross-sectional study included 100 adult Singaporean Chinese (50 women). A validated taste methodology was used with taste solutions provided by Monell Chemical Senses Center. Dietary intake and patterns were assessed by dietary recalls.
Results: There was little relationship between taste intensity and tastant preference in regard to background dietary intake or pattern. Tastant differentiation was reliable, but there was some confusion in regard to the rating of saltiness as sourness.
Conclusions: There was a salty-sour confusion among Singaporean Chinese unlike the bitter-sour confusion reported for Caucasians. Most sodium came from sauces and was added during food preparation. In programs to address sodium: potassium ratio excess among Chinese prone to hypertension and stroke, sour as well as salty taste may need to be considered.