Racial Differences between African Americans and Asian Americans in the Effect of 6-n-propylthiouracil Taste Intensity and Food Liking on Body Mass Index

Published:January 10, 2014DOI:


      Taste intensity to 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) has been demonstrated to affect food acceptance and food intake. Because most PROP status research has been performed among predominantly white subjects, research is needed to test the effects of PROP taste intensity on food acceptance and body weight among racial minorities. This study was conducted to examine racial differences in the effect of PROP taste intensity and food liking on body mass index between African Americans and Asian Americans. A cross-sectional design with a sample of 50 African Americans (25 women, 25 men) and 50 Asian Americans (23 women, 27 men) in the New York City area aged 18 to 55 years was used in this study. Weight and height were measured and PROP intensity was assessed using PROP filter paper disks. Subjects rated the intensity of 171.15 g/L (0.5 mol/L) sucrose, 29.22 g/L (0.5 mol/L) sodium chloride, 4.8 g/L (0.025 mol/L) citric acid, and 0.127 g/L (3.2×10−4 mol/L) quinine solutions and completed a questionnaire to report their food liking/disliking for 19 food items. Characteristics were compared using analysis of variance or χ² test. A multiple linear regression model was fit with the covariates PROP mean, race, sex, age, fat-foods liking, and sweet-foods liking to predict body mass index score. The proportion of total nontasters was 22%. There were no significant differences in the PROP status distribution between African Americans and Asian Americans and in food likings between tasters and nontasters. Significant differences in fat foods, sugar, and black coffee liking were observed among the subracial groups (ie, African Caribbean, African black, East Asian, and South Asian). Race, sex, and age significantly contributed to predict body mass index score.


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      S. E. Choi is an assistant professor, Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, Queens College, the City University of New York, Flushing.