Not a fan of licorice or leafy green vegetables? Maybe it is time to blame your mother. Rachel looks at the scientific connection between the foods we love and a mom’s diet…
Compelling evidence shows that what you eat during pregnancy has an effect on the food preferences of your child.
When I first heard this, I thought, ‘well that explains it’ – there is no other way the Dutch could happily consume the vile, salty, astringent taste of licorice. They eat mass quantities of it – and not the wimpy stuff like twizzlers, but the double salt, double pungent ones. In good Dutch expat spirit, I’ve tried repeatedly to get accustomed to the taste, but every time I pop one in my mouth, my taste buds revolt and I’ll spit it out before you can say ‘Punky Bruster.’
So what gives? How can a whole country love this stuff? It turns out that a handful of fun scientists might have some answers. Julie Mennella, from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, found that after about 21 weeks, baby could taste and smell amniotic fluid, which picked up the distinguished flavors of garlic, anise, vanilla, mint or carrot that was consumed by the mothers in their study.
So if you down mass quantities of Brussels sprouts, will that mean that your growing toddler will not give you heck at the dinner table? Well, possibly! Research took three test groups; one that drank carrot juice every day during pregnancy, one that drank it only during breastfeeding and another that avoided carrot juice completely. And, drumroll please… the babies that were exposed to carrot juice during gestation, ate more carrot flavored cereal AND with less unhappy faces!
Believe it or not, a similar study was also done with anise flavor, and again, anise fetus equals anise tolerant children. Mystery solved. But, in fear of what I’ll coin, the ‘Brussels Sprouts Defense,’ which blames moms worldwide for kids not eating their vegetables, I think we should keep this research a little hush-hush.