The overconsumption of calorie-dense foods high in added salt, sugar, and fat is a major contributor to current rates of obesity, and methods to reduce consumption are needed. Prolonged water-only fasting followed by an exclusively whole-plant-food diet free of added salt, oil, and sugar may reduce the consumption of these hyper-palatable foods, but such effects have not been quantified. Therefore, we conducted a preliminary study to estimate the effects of this intervention on salty and sweet taste detection and recognition thresholds and perceived taste intensity after at least five days of fasting and at refeed day three. We also assessed the effects on sweet, salty, and fatty food preference and overall dietary consumption 30 days after the day three refeed visit. Based on this data, we estimated that 10 days after the start of the fasting, salty taste recognition, sweet taste detection, and sweet taste recognition thresholds decreased significantly, salty taste intensity ratings increased significantly, and sweet taste intensity ratings decreased significantly. We also have preliminary data that prolonged water-only fasting followed by refeeding on an exclusively whole-food-plant diet may reduce salty/fatty and sweet/fatty food liking, reduce sugar intake, and increase vegetable intake. These results support further research into the effects of fasting and diet on taste function and food likability and consumption.
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