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Physiol Behav. 1991 Dec;50(6):1245-51.

Conditioned preferences: young children prefer flavors associated with high dietary fat.

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Child Development Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


In two experiments, 20 2-5-year-old children participated in a series of 8 conditioning trials to investigate whether they acquired conditioned preferences based on the fat content of a food. On different days, each child consumed fixed quantities of novelly flavored yogurts that were high or low in fat and energy density (220 or 110 kcal/serving). After conditioning, patterns of ad lib consumption data provided evidence of caloric compensation in response to the energy density differences in the preloads. Children consumed more following the low- than the high-fat preloads. Preference assessments, performed pre- and postconditioning, revealed conditioned flavor preferences based on fat content: children increased their preference for the high-density paired flavor, but no change in preference was noted for the low-density paired flavor. These data suggest that such conditioned flavor preferences based on energy density may be contributing to children's preferences for foods high in dietary fat.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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