The association between salt taste perception, mediterranean diet and metabolic syndrome: A cross-sectional study

Nikolina Nika Veček, Lana Mucalo, Ružica Dragun, Tanja Miličević, Ajka Pribisalić, Inga Patarčić, Caroline Hayward, Ozren Polašek, Ivana Kolčić*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a widespread disorder and an important public health challenge. The purpose of this study was to identify the association between salt taste perception, Mediterranean diet and MetS. This cross-sectional study included 2798 subjects from the general population of Dalmatia, Croatia. MetS was determined using the Joint Interim Statement definition, and Mediterranean diet compliance was estimated using Mediterranean Diet Serving Score. Salt taste perception was assessed by threshold and suprathreshold testing (intensity and hedonic perception). Logistic regression was used in the analysis, adjusting for important confounding factors. As many as 44% of subjects had MetS, with elevated waist circumference as the most common component (77%). Higher salt taste sensitivity (lower threshold) was associated with several positive outcomes: lower odds of MetS (OR = 0.69; 95% CI 0.52–0.92), lower odds for elevated waist circumference (0.47; 0.27–0.82), elevated fasting glucose or diabetes (0.65; 0.45–0.94), and reduced HDL cholesterol (0.59; 0.42–0.84), compared to the higher threshold group. Subjects with lower salt taste threshold were more likely to consume more fruit, and less likely to adhere to olive oil and white meat guidelines, but without a difference in the overall Mediterranean diet compliance. Salt taste intensity perception was not associated with any of the investigated outcomes, while salty solution liking was associated with MetS (OR = 1.85, CI 95% 1.02–3.35). This study identified an association between salt taste perception and MetS and gave a new insight into taste perception, nutrition, and possible health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1164
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Mediterranean diet
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Salt taste perception
  • Sodium chloride
  • Taste threshold


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