Cultural Determinants of Food Attitudes in Anosmic Patients
Pellegrino, R., T. Hummel, R. Emrich, R. Chandra, J. H. Turner, T. Trone, C. Dorminy, and C. R. Luckett.  2019.  Appetite.  (in press)

Abstract:
The decrease in food enjoyment is a major factor why patients suffer from depression when having anosmia, or total loss of smell. While we have some knowledge about how food preferences and attitudes change with dysosmia, these findings are limited because other factors such as culture are not factored in. It is likely that the culture in which an anosmic patient identifies with will influence how their smell loss impacts their relationship with food. This study examined the current attitudes within the United States and Germany towards foods, focusing on the comparison between anosmic patients (N = 53) and those with a healthy sense of smell (N = 121). A survey was used to collect free responses for liking on a variety of foods (N = 15) that were also rated for their overall liking. Additionally, individuals rated and ranked their liking for sensory attributes in relation to their enjoyment of food. Free responses were classified into categories and subcategories, the frequency of those responses were then compared across groups. The patient population of each culture gave lower importance to aroma and flavor; however, the U.S.A. patient population showed a larger decrease from their healthy counterparts. Furthermore, anosmic patients from the U.S.A. showed less overall liking towards the food stimuli compared to their healthy counterparts, while no such effect observed among the German population. Reasons to enjoy a food were largely explained by the culture, and patients within a culture took on different compensation strategies which we use to explain their effectiveness.