Preferences and intake measures of salt and sugar, and their relation to personality traits.

Abstract

The inter-relationship of personality with dietary intake of salt and sugar, and with hedonic responses to saltiness and sweetness, was examined among 62 female and 38 male university students. Thirty-five personality traits were assessed using five standard questionnaires: (1) Sixteen Personality Factor (16PF), (2) Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS), (3) Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), (4) Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC), and (5) Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS). Dietary intakes of salty and of sweet foods were estimated from dietary-frequency questionnaires. Hedonic responses to sodium chloride in beef broth and to sucrose in lemonade were measured by category scaling of like/dislike and by ad libitum addition to maximum preference. While subjects with a high salt intake liked saltier broths (p less than 0.05), a similar relationship was not found for sugar intake and sweetness preferences. Hedonic scaling of both saltiness and sweetness was highly related to the ad libitum results. Only a few significant personality effects were observed. The more outgoing individuals liked sweeter lemonade than the more reserved subjects, and subjects who felt they had self-control over their health liked lower levels of salt in broth, while those who felt that chance or others controlled their health liked higher levels. Using personality traits as independent variables in step-wise multiple regression analysis accounted for 13% of the variance in the concentrations of salt and sugar, respectively, which received maximum hedonic responses.

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