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Prediction of Stevia Liking by Sucrose Liking: Effects of Beverage Background

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Chemosensory Perception



There is significant concern over the health implications of increased consumption of sugars added to foods and beverages. Understanding the increase in sugar intake, as well as consideration of potential substitutes, will require research in multiple domains. Research on hedonic ratings of sucrose suggests that individuals can be classified into two distinct liking profiles: sweet likers and sweet non-likers. However, no known studies have investigated liking for the natural, non-nutritive sweetener, stevia. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between liking of stevia and liking of sucrose as a function of beverage background.


Forty young adults, 20 high concentration and 20 moderate concentration stevia likers, gave intensity and pleasantness ratings for stevia blend and sucrose taste solutions that varied in concentration and background.


The results revealed a significant relationship between stevia blend liking and sucrose liking. The majority of stevia high concentration likers were high concentration sucrose likers. Pleasantness ratings also significantly varied as a function of background: the discrepancy in pleasantness ratings between stevia blend high concentration likers and moderate concentration likers observed in distilled water was attenuated in a citric beverage background.


The majority of high concentration stevia likers were sucrose likers; however, pleasantness ratings also significantly varied as a function of stimulus background. Limiting sucrose in the modern diet is an important research area for diabetes and other health issues. The results suggest that perception of pleasantness and sweetness at varying sweetener concentrations is not fully generalizable from one beverage background to another.

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This study was supported by NIH grant # R01AG004085-26 to C.M. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Aaron Jacobson.

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Correspondence to Claire Murphy.

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This study was funded by NIH grant number R01 AG004085-26.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments of comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Oleson, S., Murphy, C. Prediction of Stevia Liking by Sucrose Liking: Effects of Beverage Background. Chem. Percept. 10, 49–59 (2017).

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