Bulimia and Taste: Possible Interactions

Judith Rodin, Linda Bartoshuk, Carol Peterson, Diane Schank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Potential abnormalities of taste were examined in bulimic subjects who purged by vomiting and in controls. When spatial testing of the tongue and palate was performed by direct local application of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter solutions, bulimics showed a selective spatial loss on the palate. The palate may be affected by purging because vomit is directed toward the roof of the mouth where the palate receptors are located. The data suggest that the acid in vomit damages these receptors. Bulimics and controls did not differ in their basal ratings of intensity or pleasantness of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter stimuli when these were sipped rather than directly applied to the tongue. However, after ingesting a glucose load, controls found sweet taste significantly less pleasant, whereas bulimics did not. The results suggest that bulimics may also have an abnormal experience of satiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1990


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