Some Infant Taste Experiences can Influence Taste Acceptance
A child’s dietary behavior is determined by many factors, including infant taste preference. However, what affects taste preference and how early taste preference can be established is not well recognized. A systematic review of 20 research studies, including 15 intervention studies and 5 observational studies, was conducted to determine if specific taste experiences and feeding patterns prenatally and within the first 6 months of life affect taste and food acceptance during infancy and later life. The review titled “Impacts of In Utero and Early Infant Taste Experiences on Later Taste Acceptance: A systematic Review” was published in March 2015. The Journal of Nutrition. Data regarding exposure to sweet and salty tastes early in life are vague regarding changes in acceptance for such tastes in later infancy. There is some evidence that exposure to bitter foods increases the intake of these tastes and there are insufficient studies regarding sour taste to make any conclusions. Differences in the development of taste preferences may be due to various mechanisms. For example, the mechanisms that are responsible for sweet and bitter taste development are thought to be similar, while salty and sour taste are regulated through different mechanisms. Potential limitations of this systematic review include study design and poor external validity, potential residual confounding from other food characteristics, and limited sample size and specific populations, while a strength of this review includes a relatively large number of studies.