Vegans, vegetarians and omnivores differ in nutrient hedonics, salt and sweet preference and flavouring

Micah Leshem, Smadar Shaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dietary content can influence taste responses. Therefore, we compared nutrient hedonics (liking foods by nutrient content), and seasoning, including taste responses to the prime flavours salt and sweet in 30 vegan, 37 vegetarian and 56 omnivore men and women. Methodology: Questionnaires and taste tests examined macronutrient and electrolyte intake and hedonics, seasoning, salt and sweet preferences and psychophysical taste responses. Results: Compared to omnivores, vegans had lower protein, Ca++, Na+ intake, and increased carbohydrate (CHO) intake. Independently of intake, hedonics for protein Ca++and Na+ were reduced and increased for CHO. Psychophysical responses to NaCl and sucrose also differed slightly, vegans and vegetarians scoring high concentrations of sucrose as more intense, Vegans reported more sweetening and less salting of food, added more sucrose to a test tea, less salt to a test soup, but did not differ in seasoning with oil or hot spice. Principal Conclusions: Habitual vegan, vegetarian and omnivore diets may alter taste responses to nutrient content and salt and sweet, the latter more pronounced in vegan and vegetarian women. Recognizing diet-dependent changes in taste hedonics can inform diets and products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113936
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Nutrients
  • Omnivore
  • Taste
  • Taste hedonics
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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