Greater overall olfactory performance, explicit wanting for high fat foods and lipid intake during the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica McNeil, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Increases in energy, lipid and carbohydrate intakes during the luteal phase have been previously observed. However, it is not known whether this is due to phase-dependent variations in the reward value of certain foods. Moreover, increases in olfactory sensitivity have been proposed and may be involved in these changes in food reward. Therefore, we examined olfactory performance and the reward value of foods varying in fat content and taste. Seventeen women (Body mass index: 22.3 ± 1.6 kg/m2; Body fat-DXA: 28.5 ± 6.8%) were recruited to participate in 3 identical sessions, performed during distinct phases of the menstrual cycle – early follicular/menstruation, late follicular/ovulation and mid-luteal – verified by plasma sex-steroid hormones and oral temperature. Food preference, implicit wanting, and explicit wanting and liking for visual food cues, varying in fat content and taste, were measured with a validated experimental platform involving a forced choice computer task. Odour threshold, odour discrimination, odour identification and total odour scores were measured using odourized pens. Ad libitum energy and macronutrient intake was measured with a validated food menu. Results showed greater total odour scores (p < 0.05), explicit wanting for high fat foods (p < 0.05) and lipid intake (p < 0.05) during the mid-luteal phase. Inter-correlations between these variables were non-significant. These findings support previous observations of increased lipid intake during the luteal phase and provide evidence for phase-dependent variation in overall olfactory performance and explicit wanting for high fat foods.

Additional Information

Physiology & Behavior, 2013, 112-113: 84-89
Language: English
Date: 2013
Menstrual cycle, Wanting, Liking, Olfaction

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