Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Fetal Food Preferences

You are what your pregnant mother ate. Tastes are shaped in the womb, according to the latest news from the world of science, one more opportunity to create designer babies and another issue for psychotherapists with patients who blame their mothers for everything.

A new study at the Monell Chemical Senses Research Institute in Philadelphia finds flavors from mothers' diet are transmitted through amniotic fluid and babies learn to like a food's taste when mothers eat it on a regular basis.

This new leap forward suggests that a healthy diet during pregnancy can insure children who like broccoli, spinach and carrots rather than junk food.

Talk about eating for two: Experiments found that women who ingested large quantities of carrot juice or raw fruit had children with more of a taste for carrots and fruit than those of women who didn't.

Even after birth, there is still time to influence taste buds, another study showed. When new mothers who were breast-feeding started eating green beans, their children acquired a taste for them.

Maybe so, but I have anecdotal evidence to the contrary: A pre-teen twin I know has become a self-made vegetarian while his brother eats roast beef every chance he gets. Can a mother-to-be send gastronomic mixed signals?

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