The Effect of Appearance of Apple Juice Thickened with Starch and Gum-Based Agents

Date of Graduation

Spring 2007


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Lynette Goldberg


Adults with dysphagia are unable to swallow safely. One treatment strategy to facilitate a safe swallow is to thicken liquids. While effective, thickening liquids can have an adverse effect on palatability and compliance with treatment. This study investigated the taste, texture, and overall palatability of apple juice thickened with two starch- and two gum-based agents. The appearance of the thickened juice was of particular interest. Fifteen female graduate students rated the taste, texture and palatability of the thickened juice on a 10 cm scale (1= dislike extremely; 10 = like extremely) for six trials over two test periods. In test period 1, raters were blind to appearance. In test period 2, the thickened liquid was visible. Paired t-test comparisons for the two test periods documented statistically significant differences for taste and palatability for different starch- and gum-based agents. Regression analyses determined that taste was the primary determinant of palatability for starch-based agents regardless of appearance. For the gum-based agents, taste was the primary determinant when the thickened apple juice was not visible. However, when the thickened apple juice was visible, texture became the primary determinant of overall palatability. The clinical implications of these results are discussed.


dysphagia, thickening agents, palatability, sensory scaling, beverage preferences

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders


© Molly Trautschold