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J Am Diet Assoc. 1985 May;85(5):577-82, 585.

Sensory development in children: research in taste and olfaction.

Abstract

Taste and smell are considered important influences on food selection and intake. However, the exact nature of the effects of chemical sensory function on dietary habits is still unclear. Future research concerning this interaction should facilitate the development of optimal dietary guidelines concerning the palatability of foods for children. At present, however, some broad generalizations about sensory development and food acceptance can be made. First, sweet preference appears innate, and thus addition of sweet substances is almost certain to increase the palatability of foods. Conversely, aversions to bitterness appear from a very early age, and thus bitter flavors are likely to decrease palatability. Third, saltiness may be aversive or neutral to infants, with adult patterns of salt preference not appearing until about age 2. Fourth, odors, including volatile flavors like cherry, which are perceived via the olfactory receptors, cannot be expected to have much impact on children until about age 5. Even though children can detect such odors, their likes and dislikes are attenuated. Finally, young children probably find strong or irritative sensations in the mouth, e.g., from carbonation or pepper, to be aversive.

PMID:
3886763
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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