Taste is a major determinant of children’s food preferences, but much has yet to be known of its development with age. This includes the acceptance of tastes and their developmental changes over the first year, and to compare acceptance across tastes. It is important to know within-subject variability of acceptance across tastes.
In this very interesting study the acceptance of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami tastes was measured in three groups of forty-five 3-, 6- and 12-month-old infants looking at ingestion and liking scored by the experimenter.
For each taste, four bottles were used (water, tastant, tastant, water). Acceptance of each taste relative to water was defined using proportional variables based on ingestion or liking. Acceptance over the first year only evolved for sweet taste (marginal decrease) and salty taste (clear increase). At each age, sweet and salty tastes were the most preferred tastes. Reactions to umami were neutral. Sour and bitter tastes were the least accepted ones
During the first year, inter-individual variability increased for all tastes except salty taste.
Schwartz et al 2009 Developmental changes in the acceptance of the five basic tastes in the first year of life British J of Nutrition vol 102 pp 1375-1385
- Martin Eastwood