October, 2020MSI Funded Study: The addition of spices and herbs to vegetables in the National School Lunch Program increased vegetable intake at an urban, economically-underserved, and predominantly African-American high school
MSI Funded Study: The Influence of Adding Spices to Reduced Sugar Foods on Overall Liking
Peters, J. C., Marker, R., Pan, Z., Breen, J. A. and Hill, J. O.
Reducing sugar intake is a major public health goal but many consumers are reluctant to use low calorie sweeteners. Two studies were conducted in healthy adults aged 18 to 65 to investigate whether addition of culinary spices to foods reduced in sugar could preserve hedonic liking.
Test foods, black tea, oatmeal, and apple crisp, were prepared in full sugar (FS), reduced sugar (RS), and reduced sugar with spice (RSS) versions. Sugar reductions were 100%, 35%, and 37% for tea, oatmeal, and apple crisp, respectively. In Study 1, 160 subjects rated absolute liking of FS, RS, and RSS versions of a breakfast of oatmeal and tea and an afternoon snack of apple crisp on consecutive weeks. In Study 2, 150 subjects rated relative liking of all 3 versions of one food at the same seating, with different foods tested 1 wk apart. Liking was assessed using a 9-point Likert scale.
Both studies yielded similar results. For all 3 test items, liking was significantly higher for FS than for RS (P < 0.03). For tea, addition of spices did not significantly improve liking in either study. For oatmeal, addition of spices did not consistently improve liking compared to RS. For apple crisp, relative liking of RSS was not different then FS. These results indicate that it is possible to preserve the hedonic pleasure of a reduced sugar version of a dessert food, apple crisp, by addition of culinary spices. This may be a promising strategy to reduce sugar in some foods without using low calorie sweeteners.
Reducing sugar consumption is an important public health goal. Many consumers are reluctant to use low calorie sweeteners and alternative approaches are needed. Using culinary spices to enhance the flavor of foods may allow sugar reduction while still preserving acceptable overall liking.