An Early Acquired Taste: Flavor Conditioning in Utero | CookingDistrict.com

An Early Acquired Taste: Flavor Conditioning in Utero

Worried your kid won't eat their vegetables? Looks like it's up to mom to set a good example before the kid's even born. Researchers now think that as early as 21 weeks after conception a fetus will start to experience and register flavors. At that stage of development, a fetus will process several ounces of amniotic fluid per day. To confirm amniotic fluid passed on flavors from the mother's diet, researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center gave garlic pills to expectant mothers, and then took a routine sample of the women's amniotic fluid. A panel of 'amniotic fluid smellers' (yes, I know it sounds a little gross) all easily confirmed the presence of a garlic aroma in the amniotic fluid.

"Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint — these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk," says Julie Mennella, who studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. They have yet to pinpoint any flavor that doesn't come through in amniotic fluid. And it makes sense-mothers will typically always feed their children the same foods that they eat themselves (the foods they have access to). The process begins conditioning babies to eat what is available before they even leave the womb.
Source: NPR

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