Increasing evidence implicates the rewarding properties of foods in the positive energy balance leading to overweight and obesity. Energy and nutrient content are contributors, but sensory properties are dominant. The combination of all of a food or beverages sensory properties is termed flavor and is increasingly implicated in the incidence and prevalence of obesity. The expanding interest in flavor derives from recent dietary trends and findings related to the mechanisms and functions of sensory stimulation. For example, flavor compounds (e.g., non-nutritive sweeteners, fat replacers) are increasingly added to the food supply to moderate its energy density with uncertain effects on appetite. Greater consumption of ethnic and intensely flavored foods has led to increased sensory variety with unknown effects on intake. Further, new effective stimuli (e.g., fatty acids, calcium);new locations for their receptors (tongue, intestine, lung, muscle) and new effects (e.g., release of gut peptides) have been proposed. These recent developments and their important health implications call for a conference to evaluate current knowledge, gaps in understanding and promising avenues of future research. This application requests partial support for this purpose. The Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) plans to host an international conference that will foster critical thinking related to A) cultural food patterns;B) how each sensory system contributes to flavor and feeding independently and collectively;C) flavor measurement;and D) the use of flavors in product development and for therapeutic interventions. The meeting will be comprised of an opening plenary lecture and poster session;topical sessions where a series of complimentary invited presentations are followed by discussion led by invited discussants;and a culminating session to identify new, fruitful research directions. The meeting will be open to the academic, clinical, food industry, public health, policy and media communities. It will be hosted by the IBRC who has held similar meetings and published the proceedings on a biennial basis three prior times.
The flavor of the food supply is changing rapidly as is knowledge of effective sensory stimuli, sites of detection and their physiological effects;all with uncertain effects on intake and body weight. An international conference with invited speakers and discussants is proposed to critically review current knowledge, identify gaps and propose new research opportunities. The proceedings will be published and should aid basic and applied research and policy decisions related to obesity management.