Differences in Taste Sensitivity between Vegans and Non-Vegetarians in Palembang, Indonesia

  • Takami Abbilardo Undergraduate Student, Dentistry Study Program, Faculty of Medicine, Sriwijaya University, Indonesia
  • Shanty Chairani Universitas Sriwijaya
  • Nursiah Nasution Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Sriwijaya University, Indonesia


Introduction: Many studies have shown that nutritional deficiencies can affect taste sensitivity. One group at high risk of nutritional deficiencies is vegans. Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate the differences in taste sensitivity between vegans and non-vegetarians in Palembang, Indonesia. Methods: This was an observational analytic study with a quasi-experimental approach. A total of 60 subjects aged 21–45 years were included in this study. The subjects were divided into two groups: vegans (n = 30) and non-vegetarians (n = 30). Taste sensitivity was measured using the filter paper disc method. Five taste qualities (sweet, salt, sour, bitter, and umami) were tested using four different concentrations for each taste quality. The lowest concentrations identified correctly by the subjects were recorded as the taste sensitivity scores. The taste sensitivity scores were subsequently summed to form the taste scores. The data were analyzed using the Mann–Whitney U test. Results: The mean values of the sweet, bitter, and umami taste sensitivity scores and the taste score in the vegan group were lower than those in the non-vegetarian group. The mean value of the salt taste sensitivity score in the vegan group was higher than that of the non-vegetarian group, while the mean value in the sour taste sensitivity score was the same for both groups. There were no significant differences in the sweet, salt, sour, bitter, and umami taste sensitivity scores and taste scores of the vegan and non-vegetarian groups (p>0.05). Conclusion: The vegans and non-vegetarians in Palembang in this study have differences in taste sensitivity, but these results are not significant.


Bertoli S, Laureati M, Battezzati A, Valentina B, Cereda E, Spadafranca A, et al. Taste sensitivity, nutritional status and metabolic syndrome: Implication in weight loss dietary interventions. World J Diabetes. 2014;5(5):717-23.
Tortora GJ, Derrickson B. Principles of anatomy and physiology. 14th Ed. United Kingdom: Willey; 2014. p.576-8, p.895-6.
Bhattacharyya N, Kepnes LJ. Contemporary assessment of the prevalence of smell and taste problems in adults. The Laryngoscop. 2014;125(5):1102-6.
Ekback G, Ordell S. Self-perceived taste disturbance: a 20-year prospective study of a Swedish 1942 birth cohort. Gerodontology. 2017;34:180–186.
Costanzo A, Orellana L, Nowson C, Duesing K, Keast R. Fat taste sensitivity is associated with short-term and habitual fat intake. Nutrients. 2017;9(781): 1-12.
Su N, Ching V, Grushka M. Taste disorders: a review. J Can Dent Assoc. 2013; 79:d86.
Touger-Decker R, Mobley C, Epstein JB. Nutrition and oral medicine. 2nd ed. USA: Humana Press; 2014. p. 117-8.
Satoh-Kuriwada S, Noriaki S, Misako K, Hisayuki U, Naoto K, Takashi S. Hyposalivation strongly influences hypogeusia in the elderly. Japan: J Health Sci. 2009;55(5):689-98.
Fábián TK, Beck A, Fejérdy P, Hermann P, Fábián G. Molecular mechanisms of taste recognition: considerations about the role of saliva. Int J Mol Sci.2015; 16:5945-74.
Ambaldhage VK, Puttabuddi JH, Nunsavath PN, Tummuru YR. Taste disorders: A review . J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol. 2014;26:69-76.
Aliani M, Udenigwe CC, Girgih AT, Pownall TL, Bugera JL, Eskin MNA. Zinc deficiency and taste perception in the elderly. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013; 53:245–50.
Okayama T, Watanabe H. Association between taste perception, nutrient intake, and mental health in young Japanese women. Nutr Res Pract. 2019;13(1): 41–6.
Yoshida R. Hormones and bioactive substances that affect peripheral taste sensitivity. JOB. 2012;54: 67–72.
Loper HB, Sala LM, Dotson C, Steinle N. Taste perception, associated hormonal modulation, and nutrient intake. Nutr Rev. 2015; 73(2):83–91.
Craig WJ. Position of the American dietetic association: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(7):1266-82.
Schüpbach R, Wegmüller R, Berguerand C, Bui M, Herter‑Aeberli. Micronutrient status and intake in omnivores, vegetarians and vegans in Switzerland. Eur J Nutr. 2017;56: 283–93.
Belinova L, Kahleova H, Malinska H, Topolcan O, Vrzalova J, Oliyarnyk O, et al. Differential acute postprandial effects of processed meat and isocaloric vegan meals on the gastrointestinal hormone response in subjects suffering from type 2 diabetes and healthy controls: a randomized crossover study. PLoS One. 2014;9(9):1-10.
Putri K, Sriati, Yunita. The consumer perceptions and organizational strategy of Indonesia Vegetarian Society (IVS) in increasing to consumption vegetable cuisine in Palembang city. IOSR-JBM. 2018;20(8):62-73.
Chairani S, Putri A, Rusdiana S. Perbedaan sensitivitas pengecapan pada masa ovulasi, menstruasi, dan pasca menopause. Dentika Dental J 2013;17(3):207-11. 
Schiffman SS. Influence of medications on taste and smell. World J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;4(1):84–91.
Saluja P, Shetty V, Dave A, Arora M, Hans V, Madan A. Comparative evaluation of the effect of menstruation, pregnancy and menopause on salivary flow rate, pH and gustatory function. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014; 8(10):81-5.
Overberg J, Hummel T, Krude H, Wiegand S. Differences in taste sensitivity between obese and non-obese children and adolescents. Arch Dis Child. 2012;97:1048–52.
Mueller C, Kallert S, Renner B. Quantitative assessment of gustatory function in a clinical context using impregnated taste strips. Rhinology. 2003;41:2-6.
Mueller CA, Pintscher K, Renner B. Clinical test of gustatory function including umami taste. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. 2011; 120(6):358-62.
Hwang CS, Kim JW, Sharhan SSA, Kim JW, Cho H, Yoon J, et al. Development of a gustatory function test for clinical application in Korean subjects. Yonsei Med J. 2018;59(2):325-30.
Pontes HA, Neto NC, Ferreira KB, Fonseca FP, Vallinoto GM, Pontes FSC, et al. Oral manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency: A case report. J Can Dent Assoc. 2009;75(7):533-7.
Patil S, Rao RS, Raj AT, Sanketh DS, Sarode S, Sarode G. Oral candida carriage in subjects with pure vegetarian and mixed dietary habits. J Clin Diagn Res. 2017;11(7):22-4.
Schmidt JA, Rinaldi S, Ferrari P, Carayol M, Achaintre D, Scalbert A. Metabolic profiles of male meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans from the EPIC-Oxford cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102:1518–26.
How to Cite
ABBILARDO, Takami; CHAIRANI, Shanty; NASUTION, Nursiah. Differences in Taste Sensitivity between Vegans and Non-Vegetarians in Palembang, Indonesia. Journal of Indonesian Dental Association, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 1, p. 24-30, feb. 2020. ISSN 2621-6175. Available at: <http://jurnal.pdgi.or.id/index.php/jida/article/view/423>. Date accessed: 17 sep. 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.32793/jida.v3i1.423.
Research Article