High bitter-taste sensitivity is associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer in older British women, according to researchers who conducted a unique study of 5,500 women whose diet, lifestyle and health has been tracked for about 20 years.
The research examined the relationship between the ability to taste the bitter-tasting chemical phenylthiocarbamide, known as PTC, or the presence of specific genetic differences in the bitter taste receptor, TAS2R38, which binds to PTC, and risk of cancer in a subset of the UK Women’s Cohort Study.
The UK Women’s Cohort Study was established in 1995 by nutritional epidemiologists at Leeds University to explore links between diet and chronic disease, cancer in particular. The study had an initial middle-aged female population of 35,000. The researchers obtained cancer incidence data from Great Britain’s National Health Service Central Register.
Researchers analyzed the food intake of women in the study, using a 217-item food-frequency questionnaire administered when the women joined the cohort in the late 1990s. Researchers hypothesized that women with higher bitter-taste sensitivity would consume fewer vegetables and have higher incidence of cancer.
Although there was no correlation between bitter-taste sensitivity and vegetable intake, researchers did find that, among older women, bitter-taste
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