How Babies Develop Taste for Life in Mother's Womb; New Study Reveals That People Inherit Food Preferences

Daily Mail (London), January 4, 2001 | Go to article overview

How Babies Develop Taste for Life in Mother's Womb; New Study Reveals That People Inherit Food Preferences


Byline: JAMES CHAPMAN

BABIES get the taste for foods their mothers eat during pregnancy, according to a new study.

Research has confirmed what generations of mothers have believed - that children are primed to like certain substances in the womb.

Researchers tested one group of babies whose mothers who had consumed aniseed during pregnancy against a group whose mothers had not.

The babies in the aniseed group turned towards the odour of anise when exposed to it in the first four days of life, while babies not exposed to the taste in the womb were either repulsed by it or ignored it.

The study, by French experts, was published in the scientific journal Chemical Senses and is reported today by New Scientist.

Carried out at the European Centre for Taste Science in Dijon, France, the study is one of the first to demonstrate a definite effect. It followed up 24 babies born to mothers, some who had and some who had not consumed aniseed flavour during pregnancy.

Dr Benoist Schaal, who led the research, said: 'This study provides the first clear evidence that mothers influence their offspring's initial responses through their diet.' The French study is supported by Professor Peter Hepper's work at the Foetal Behaviour Research Centre at Queen's University, Belfast, which shows that babies are also 'sensitised' to garlic. …

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