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Preference For Salty Foods Begins In Infancy

December 20, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Infants six months old who have eaten starchy table foods containing salt learn to prefer salty foods more than infants not exposed to the foods. For the U.S. study, salt preference of 61 infants was tested using plain or slightly salty water at both two and six months. Twenty-six infants already eating starchy foods preferred the salt solutions to water. The 35 babies not yet introduced to starchy foods were indifferent to, or rejected, the salty water. Exposed infants consumed 55 percent more salt during a food preference test than did babies not yet introduced to starchy foods. "Our findings suggest that early dietary experience influences the preference for salty taste," the researchers concluded.
L. J. Stein et al., "The development of salty taste acceptance is related to dietary experience in human infants: a prospective study", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 20, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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