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Korean J Community Nutr. 2010 Oct;15(5):670-678. Korean. Original Article.
Lee MS .
Department of Food and Nutrition, Hannam University, Daejeon, Korea.

Recognition thresholds for NaCl, sucrose, citric acid, and caffeine, as well as the pleasant concentration of NaCl were assessed in 176 males and 312 females aged 50-88 years. Furthermore, relationships among taste sensitivities, taste preferences, and lifestyles were examined. The taste solutions were presented one after the other in ascending order using the sip-and-spit method. For the recognition thresholds of the 4 basic tastes, women perceived significantly lower concentrations than the men. However, the pleasant concentration of NaCl did not show a gender difference. Sensitivities for the 4 basic tastes did not decrease with age in the men, but they did significantly decrease with age for the women, especially for those above 70 years. For men, regular exercise was positively correlated with sensitivities for sour taste and bitter taste, and physical activity was negatively correlated with the pleasant concentrations of NaCl. For women, who had more physical activity, sensitivities for sweet taste and sour taste were lower compared to the others. This study indicates that the sensitivities for 4 basic tastes in water diminished with age, but pleasant salt concentration did not change with age. Further research on pleasant NaCl concentration is required to determine factors affecting salt preference, in order to decrease salt intake in the elderly.

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