The influence of 6-n-propylthiouracil (prop) taster status on fat acceptance and intake of 7-9-year-olds

Open Access
Author:
Bloom, Rachel N
Area of Honors:
Nutritional Sciences
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kathleen Loralee Keller, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rebecca L Corwin, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Obesity
  • Children
  • 6-n-Propylthiouracil; Fat
Abstract:
Introduction: Overweight and obesity rates have doubled among adults and tripled among children in the United States over the past 30 years. Excess intake of dietary fat is one potential cause of obesity, and identifying risk factors of high fat intake could assist treatment efforts. Polymorphisms of a gene, TAS2R38, are closely related to differences in the ability to taste a related thiourea compound, 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). PROP taster status has been associated with fat detection, fat preference, and body weight. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between children’s PROP taster status, reported fat preference, fat intake, and body weight. Methods: Thirty-eight 7-9-year-olds participated in a 1-hour session in State College, PA. Anthropometric data were taken and recorded, and PROP taster status was assessed as ability to taste a common screening solution. Both parents and children completed questionnaires related to dietary fat intake and liking. Results: Children were classified as nontasters (n=18) or tasters (n=20). Independent t-tests showed that there was a significant relationship between PROP taster status, and children’s reported intake of high-fat foods (p=0.04). There was a significant relationship between PROP taster status and children’s reported acceptance for high-fat foods (p=0.01) such that nontasters reported higher acceptance. Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest that genes can influence our liking and intake of dietary fat. Additional studies are needed to determine if these relationships contribute to obesity.