If a child shows an aversion to certain foods and flavors, chances are good her mother doesn't like them very much either.
A new study suggests that pregnant mothers can influence the taste preferences of their children by eating or avoiding certain foods during pregnancy and/or while breast-feeding.
It is well established that flavors of foods and spices are transmitted from mother to child via amniotic fluid and breast milk. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia wanted to know if the early exposure to these flavors influenced a child's acceptance of similarly flavored foods later on.
Forty-six pregnant women consumed either carrot juice or water for four days per week for three consecutive weeks during their last trimester and then again during the first two months of breast-feeding.
Group 1 drank carrot juice during pregnancy and water during lactation; group 2 drank water during pregnancy and carrot juice during lactation; and the control group drank only water throughout the course of the study.
When the babies were about one month old, they were given two bowls of cereal, one prepared with water, the other with carrot juice, and their reactions and preferences were recorded.
The children that had been previously exposed to the carrot juice, whether in the womb or through breast-feeding, appeared to enjoy the carrot-flavored cereal much more than the babies whose mothers drank only water.
Source: Pediatrics 2001; 107, 6, e88
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