Obesity Surgery

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 873–878 | Cite as

Differences in Salivary Habituation to a Taste Stimulus in Bariatric Surgery Candidates and Normal-Weight Controls

  • Dale S. BondEmail author
  • Hollie A. Raynor
  • Sivamainthan Vithiananthan
  • Harry C. Sax
  • Dieter Pohl
  • G. D. Roye
  • Beth A. Ryder
  • Rena R. Wing
Clinical Research



Previous studies show that slower habituation to taste stimuli is associated with reduced rates of satiation and greater energy intake. This study compared rates of salivary habituation to gustatory presentations of lemon juice in 34 severely obese bariatric surgery candidates [48.8 ± 7.9 years, 85% female, body mass index (BMI) = 47.4 ± 7.5 kg/m2] and 18 normal-weight controls (48.4 ± 9.5 years, 88.9% female, BMI = 22.7 ± 1.2 kg/m2).


Parotid saliva was collected from cotton rolls positioned in the oral cavity during two baseline water trials and ten lemon juice trials. Data were condensed into trial blocks, representing mean values for the two baseline water trials and each of five pairs of lemon juice trials (i.e., blocks 1–5). Salivary change across lemon juice trials was calculated by subtracting values for blocks 1 through 5 from baseline.


A significant interaction of group (bariatric surgery candidates/normal-weight controls) by blocked trials [F (4, 200) = 3.0; p < 0.05] indicated that the groups differed in their pattern of salivary responding, with bariatric surgery candidates’ salivation (grams) failing to decrease significantly over the five blocked trials (−0.47 ± 0.18, p = 0.12), unlike that of the normal-weight controls (−1.30 ± 0.25, p < 0.001).


These findings suggest that severely obese participants’ rate of salivary habituation to a taste stimulus is delayed compared to normal-weight controls. This provides support that satiation in bariatric surgery candidates is impaired, possibly leading to increased energy intake and positive energy balance.


Obesity Bariatric surgery Satiation Habituation Eating behavior Salivation 



Appreciation is expressed to Angelica Adams, B.S., and Jennifer Trautvetter, B.A., for their assistance with data collection. This research was funded by grants from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Health (“Behavior Changes in Women Undergoing Bariatric Surgery”) and The American Diabetes Association (“Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowship: Behavioral Approaches to Weight Loss and Maintenance”) that were awarded to Dr. Rena R. Wing.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no commercial interests to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale S. Bond
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hollie A. Raynor
    • 2
  • Sivamainthan Vithiananthan
    • 3
  • Harry C. Sax
    • 3
  • Dieter Pohl
    • 4
  • G. D. Roye
    • 5
  • Beth A. Ryder
    • 5
  • Rena R. Wing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, The Miriam Hospital/Weight Control and Diabetes Research CenterProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of NutritionUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, The Miriam HospitalProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryRoger Williams HospitalProvidenceUSA
  5. 5.Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityRhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA

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