Differences in the Liking of Sweet Tastes of Different Sources (Natural and Artificial) among Older Adolescents in Slovenia
The aim of this research paper is to investigate the recognition and liking of sweet tastes among older adolescents (19–21 years), and in doing so determine whether any differences exist in the liking of sweet tastes with respect to their differing sources (i.e. either of natural or artificial origin). With this aim in mind, data was obtained from sensory testing performed on a total of 101 participants between 19 and 21 years of age, of whom 60 were female and 41 male. Recognition of the basic tastes (i.e. sweet, salty, sour and bitter) was found to be good among most respondents and its success unrelated to gender. Furthermore, participants were found to demonstrate no difficulties with respect to the correct ordering of solutions of different intensities of sweetness (or, rather, of different concentrations of sucrose in water), regardless of gender. The most liked concentration among both men and women was 4.3%. Also established were differences in the liking of sweet tastes of different sources (i.e. natural and artificial). Participants were offered the most generally liked solution of sucrose in water (4.3%) as well as a number of table-top sweeteners prepared, in accordance with their packaging instructions, to be of comparable gustatory sweetness to the sucrose solution. In this endeavour, the selection of solutes was informed by the availability of table-top sweeteners among the five largest commercial producers, and involved those commercially sold under the names stevia, birch sugar, liquid sweetener (Na cyclamate, Na saccharin, thaumatin), sucralose, erythrol, fructose, Streusüße (sorbitol and saccharin). It was found that the most liked sweet tastes were those of sucrose and sucralose, while the taste of fructose was in third place albeit statistically significantly less liked than the tastes of sucrose and sucralose. Although the results of average values indicate that all kinds of sweet tastes are moderately liked, the liking of stevia and erythrol was found to be statistically significantly lower than the liking of sucrose and sucralose. From this, we conclude that artificial sweeteners are gaining in likeability, but even so, of the three most generally liked sources of sweet taste, two are natural sugars.
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