Sensory perception and psychological aspects of eating behavior: factors influencing fat hedonics in Malaysia

Yun Fei Tan, See Kwong Goh, See Wan Yan


Understanding the causes of obesity epidemic requires examination of what contributes to preference of palatable foods. Using a sensorial-consumer approach, this research examined the relationship between the sensation of the hedonic liking of fat with psychological and weight profiles. The study began with preliminary testing of the hedonic ratings of 24 food items (12 low fat (LF), 12 high fat(HF)) and completion of the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-R18) investigating cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating and emotional eating aspects. Eight (8) out of the twelve (12) food pairs that had discriminating characteristics were selected, for inclusion in the study, by 347 panellists. Results showed that overweight individuals had significantly lower liking towards LF sensation (4.27±2.13, p= 0.001) but significantly higher liking towards HF sensation (5.26±2.33, p= 0.001), compared to normal BMI individuals who had a significantly higher liking towards LF sensation (5.69±2.35, p= 0.001) but significantly lower liking towards HF sensation (4.17±2.40, p= 0.001). The Pearson product-moment correlation revealed similar trends on the association between liking of fat sensation and eating behaviour regardless of weight statuses. Specifically, cognitive restrainers were found to prefer the LF sensation while HF sensation were more favoured among uncontrolled and emotional eaters. This highlights the importance of investigating the combined effect of psychological aspects of eating behaviour and weight profiles towards liking of fat sensation.


Fat sensation; cognitive restraint; uncontrolled eating; emotional eating

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