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Asian sweet-tooth may be suppressed by hot drink preferences – study

By Oliver Nieburg+

05-Feb-2013
Last updated on 05-Feb-2013 at 13:19 GMT2013-02-05T13:19:04Z

Per capita chocolate consumption in Asia's largest market, China, is 1.2 kg, while the global average is 2.1kg
Per capita chocolate consumption in Asia's largest market, China, is 1.2 kg, while the global average is 2.1kg

Asian people may consume fewer sweet goods such as chocolate because they prefer hot beverages, according to new research.

An article in the Food Quality and Preference Journal found that chocolate tasted much sweeter after consuming a hot drink, potentially putting off consumers.

Chocolate too sweet for tea drinking Asians

Study author Mony et al. found water temperatures may affect how people perceive sweet foods and could explain why North Americans, who normally drink iced water, prefer highly sweetened foods, while Asian people, who prefer hot water and tea, consume fewer sweet goods.

“The present study provides new empirical evidence that the temperature of served water can manipulate sensory perception and pleasantness for subsequent foods,” said the researchers.

“That is, the consumption of iced water decreased perceived intensities of sweetness, chocolate flavor, and creaminess for subsequent dark chocolate,” they continued.

Confectionery less sweet for ice cold Americans

Thirty-eight participants from North America were served water at varying temperatures (4, 20, and 50 °C ) and then ate two types of food: Lindt 70% dark chocolate and pieces of cheddar cheese.

“For the dark chocolate, the intensity ratings for sweetness, chocolate flavor, and creaminess were significantly lower when following water at 4 °C than when following water at either 20 or 50 °C,” said the study.

However, the sensory perception of cheddar cheese did not change.

The study found that while sweetness of chocolate was altered by the temperature of water the same could not be said for the bitter flavour.

“The current study was carried out in North American people who often drink iced water/beverage. Therefore, it would be interesting to perform the present experiment with European or Asian people who are used to drinking room temperature water or hot water/tea, respectively,” said the researchers.

Source:
Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 28, Issue 2, June 2013, Pages 449–455
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.12.002
‘Temperature of served water can modulate sensory perception and acceptance of food’
Authors: Pauline Monya, Tonya Tokara, Peggy Panga, Alexandra Fiegela, Jean-François Meulleneta, Han-Seok Seo