A matter of taste

Published: Sunday 15 October 2000

Contrary to popular perception, a baby's taste preference starts in the womb, and not with breast milk. A study conducted by Julie Mennella of the Monell Chemical Senses Centre, Philadelphia, USA, found that women who drank carrot juice while pregnant or lactating, cultivated a taste for carrots to their offspring.

Forty-six women in the third trimester of pregnancy were divided into three groups. One group drank carrot juice during pregnancy and water during lactation. The second group did the opposite while third group just drank water. The babies were tested for their preference when they were six months old. Babies exposed to carrot flavour either prenatally or in breast milk were keen to eat carrot porridge than the plain mix; the other babies did not show any such preference ( Science , Vol 289, No 5478).

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