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About all things bitter: early exposure may help increase acceptance in infants

Posted:  Friday, June 05, 2015

About all things bitter: early exposure may help increase acceptance in infants

So are you facing difficulty in feeding that one particular vegetable to your infant no matter how cleverly you disguise it? Every household may have this story and in most cases a bitter tasting vegetable is the ultimate villain. However, this vexing situation may soon be a thing of the past claim researchers. A recent review paper shows how acceptance for bitter and specific tastes can be programmed by introducing such foods early on to an infant.

The paper, published in the Journal of Nutrition, reviewed the hypothesis that introducing varied tastes such as sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami to foetuses and infants can result in greater acceptance of these tastes. For the paper, the researchers conducted a systematic review of the literature.

The researchers included 20 studies comprising 38 subgroups that differed by taste, age, medium, and duration of exposure. They found that early introduction of bitter and some specific tastes increased acceptance in later life.

The researchers expressed the need for long-term studies and randomised trials to firmly establish the selective preference for tastes in early life. However, one message comes out clearly from the review - it would be wise to introduce a variety of tastes to growing infants not just during pregnancy but also during the later stages of life.

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