Sensory Nutrition and Ingestive Behaviors

To improve dietary patterns, we must understand the biological, environmental, and food-based cues that influence what, when, and how we eat.

What are Sensory Nutrition and Ingestive Behaviors?

"Sensory nutrition is a research area examining how sensation affects what an organism chooses to eat or drink and how these sensory-motivated choices affect their nutritional health"
(Reed et al, 2019. Phys and Behav 209:112579).

"Ingestive behavior describes the complex psychological and physiological processes of seeking and consuming foods"
(Benoit et al, 2008. Peptides 29:139:47).

FFH News in This Area

FFH Hosts Inaugural Sensory Nutrition and Ingestive Behavior Summit

Read more about the event

FFH Announces ACTIVATE Grants

Click to learn more about planning grant opportunities to spur activity in Sensory Nutrition and Ingestive Behaviors

FFH Research Projects in This Area

2023 Innovate Award, $40,000
Principal Investigator: Chris Simons, PhD. Food Science and Technology, CFAES

Picky eating in children and adults can lead to poor nutrition and contentious mealtimes that negatively impact family dynamics. Although multiple factors contribute to picky eating, heightened sensitivity to taste and oral tactile stimuli have not been systematically explored. Presently, we propose to assess taste, mouthfeel, and oral tactile sensitivity in picky and non-picky eaters. We hypothesize that picky eaters will have decreased thresholds (i.e., increased sensitivity) to taste, mouthfeel, and tactile stimuli. Moreover, we believe that increased sensitivity will associate with various picky-eating behaviors as assessed by the Mealtime Behavior Questionnaire, the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire, and the Children’s Dietary Questionnaire. Identifying the root causes of picky eating in children can enable the development of strategies to alleviate the negative consequences associated with this behavior.

2022 Innovate Award, $50,000
Principal Investigator: Lihua Ye, PhD. Neuroscience, COM

Humans have been seeking methods to improve eating pleasure and food liking throughout history. Recent studies
demonstrated that in addition to taste and smell perception, the digestive system also plays an essential role in modulating
feeding behavior and food liking. This proposal will reveal a novel neural pathway from the gut to the brain that modulates
feeding behavior and promote preference toward high fat diet. This proposal will also demonstrate how gut microbiota
modulates this gut-brain pathway to influence feeding behavior and food preference. Selectively modulating this gut-brain
pathway through dietary or microbial-based intervention strategies will offer new opportunities to promote healthy eating.

2021 Strengthen Award, $20,000.
Principal Investigator: Xia Ning, PhD.  Biomedical Informatics, COM; Computer Science and Engineering, COE

Poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risks. Whole grain foods are considered to be a key
component of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, less than two percent of the American population consumes the minimum
recommended amount of whole grain. The lack of whole grain consumption is the largest contributor to poor dietary
patterns in the United States. A hurdle to consumption of whole grain food is related to production challenges limiting
the development of high flavor quality products. When cereal foods are manufactured with whole grain instead of
refined grain flour, lower product acceptability is observed, impeding consumption. The main intent of this seed
proposal is to establish a new interdisciplinary team at OSU that builds on the current USDA project by incorporating AI
and ML data analytics to considerably advance our research outcomes and extramural funding competitiveness in the
food and health area. In particular, we will conduct the following innovative AI/ML analysis to better understand what
compounds impact whole wheat bread liking.