A Systematic Review of Salt Taste Function and Perception Impairments in Adults with Chronic Kidney Disease

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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) experience physiological changes that likely impair salt taste function and perception. Sodium restriction is a cornerstone of CKD management but dietary sodium plays an important role in food enjoyment and may interfere with compliance to this intervention. Therefore, confirming that taste deficits are present in CKD will improve our understanding of how taste deficits can affect intake, and inform dietary counselling in the future. A systematic review was conducted. Studies that included adults with CKD and healthy controls, and assessed salt taste sensitivity, perceived intensity, and/or hedonic ratings were included. Study quality was assessed using the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library Quality Criteria Checklist: Primary Research. Of the 16 studies, the majority reported decreased salt taste sensitivity, but no consistent differences in intensity or hedonic ratings were observed. Higher recognition thresholds in CKD patients were associated with higher sodium intake, but results should be interpreted with caution as the measures used were subject to error in this population. In conclusion, salt taste sensitivity is decreased in CKD, but intensity and hedonic evaluations appear to be more robust. Given that hedonic assessments are better predictors of intake, and that salt taste preferences can be changed over time, dietary counselling for low-sodium intake is likely to be effective for this population.

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