Tastes Good? Food Preferences May Be Determined in the Womb

April 21, 2006 — -- If you don't have an appetite for certain kinds of food you may want to have a chat with your mother.

Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, a pioneering reseach center devoted to taste and smell, has found critical periods in the first seven months of life in which tastes are developed for certain types of food.

The data could have an impact on nursing mothers' diets, since the food they eat alters the flavor of their milk. Pregnant mothers should consider similar research that finds the last two months of pregnancy also have an impact on their children's food preferences.

The data could be used to influence how baby formula is designed, so infants are exposed to tastes that will help them enjoy healthy foods later in life.

In the study, four groups of infants were followed for seven months and were given different types of formula. If they were exposed to the more sour-tasting formula early on, they were more likely to welcome it back in month seven.

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