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Appetite. 1996 Aug;27(1):65-77.

Increased liking for salty foods in adolescents exposed during infancy to a chloride-deficient feeding formula.

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  • 1Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.


In a model selected for its similarity to the hormonal consequences of sodium deficiency, food choices of 169 adolescents exposed during infancy to a chloride-deficient feeding formula were compared to those of their closest-aged siblings. Questionnaires completed by parents were used to assess food likes and dislikes. When a salty food was mentioned by parents as one craved by either child, exposed children were more likely than siblings to crave that food (p = 0.005). Frequencies of two of four salt-related dietary behaviors [adding salt to food before tasting (p = 0.03) and to atypical foods (p = 0.05)] were higher in exposed adolescents than in siblings, while frequencies of parallel sugar-related behaviors did not differ between the groups. Foods classified as being lower in saltiness were disliked by exposed children relative to siblings (p = 0.003), although ratings of foods higher in saltiness did not differ. Finally, when asked to rank eight foods in order of preference, ranks assigned by exposed children to salty foods tended (p = 0.07) to be higher than those of siblings. The data suggest a persistent effect of early experience on human salt preference. Additional studies are needed to determine whether salt intake is increased in this and other populations that suffer electrolyte depletion during early development.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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