Monday, February 28, 2011

The Development of Taste Buds in Babies

Why will one person eat just about anything and another only eat pizza? It's probably determined by what their mother ate while breastfeeding, at least according to one new study. The results of the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, conclude that babies develop their taste buds between 2 and 5 months of age, possibly influencing their food choices for life.
  
Researchers made the results pretty clear by feeding one group of babies a bitter substance in the first few months of life and then re-introducing the bitter food repeatedly until adolescence. The babies fed the bitter substance continued liking it. Babies that were not introduced to the formula until 6 months of age rejected it.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Gary Beauchamp said of the results, “By exposing infants at this very sensitive period it appears to be possible to make them like something that they would otherwise deem to be horrible…If we could enhance consumption of vegetables amongst pregnant and nursing women, it ought to impact their children's later food choices and result in healthier eating."

However, the foods that people like are not solely determined at infanthood, as previous research has revealed. Some studies have found a correlation between what mothers eat during pregnancy and children’s tastes. Others have revealed taste preferences in the genes.

Nevertheless, this study emphasizes the importance of a healthy diet while breastfeeding in encouraging children to choose healthy foods as well.

The study also raises questions about the limitations of formula. Dr. Beauchamp said, “In the breast fed infant, they are routinely exposed to variation in flavors through their mother’s milk. In the typical formula milk fed infant, they are exposed to an extremely bland and constant tasting food…One concern we have with formula feeding is that infants do not get the varied sensory experience that children who are breast fed get…Nutritionally the formula milk is almost identical to human milk as is possible, but from a sensory point of view formula milk is impoverished.”

Do your kid’s tastes reflect what you ate while breastfeeding?

Flavours in mothers milk may determine the foods children like [Telegraph UK