Kids Might Learn to Love Junk Food as Babies: Study

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And now, some news for all the irresponsible parents out there: If you feed your baby over-salted crap, your baby might grow up to love eating over-salted crap, a new study has found.

Moms and dads who routinely feed their infants crackers, cereals, and bread -- which contain loads of sodium -- might make their kids like salt a lot later in life, according to the Los Angeles Times.

As detailed in the latest issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these children wound up jonesin' for salt more than their non-halophilic counterparts, the Times notes.

Researchers at the Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Senses Center came to this conclusion by using lots of super-young infants as lab rats, feeding them regular and slightly salty water in baby bottles.

From the Times:

Colleagues first gave 61 healthy 2-month-old infants a mild solution of salt water: Based on facial expressions and how much they drank, the authors concluded the infants indeed were indifferent to the taste.

When the babies were 6 months old, they were brought back to the Monell clinic by their parents. They were presented with three bottles containing water, a mild salt solution or a slightly saltier solution. Researchers recorded how much fluid they drank from each bottle during a one-minute period -- an indication of how much they preferred each solution.

Almost half of the infants -- 26 -- had been exposed to starchy foods such as crackers, soft bread or cereal, which are often high in salt. During the bottle test, those babies consumed 55% more salt compared with babies who had not yet been exposed to these kinds of foods.

Then, researchers checked on 26 of the kids when they hit preschool.

What they found: Youth who had been exposed to salt early in life wound up "with a greater liking" for the seasoning.

The study has broad implications for public health: Americans eat too much salt, so any explanation could help physicians and nutritionists understand how to change this.


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4 comments
Guest
Guest

People who care the most about children's health can feel gratified that researchers have this documentation, but the obvious remains: this information was obtained by using babies as research subjects. 

I never had kids, but I believe if I were a parent my instinct would be to refuse to allow scientists to use my family as lab rats.

This research doesn't sound extreme.  However, the whole idea of a mother or father placing trust in someone who wants to expose a child to something possibly unhealthy is disturbing.  Let's hope the testing for pediatric vaccines is conducted within strict ethical guidelines, since that has the potential to get really ugly.  A vaccine may be a lifesaver for the general population, but that's of little comfort to someone who is sickened during the vaccine's development. 

David Goldbeck
David Goldbeck

 I have been a food writer for more than 40 years, concerned with the undermining of the American diet. Some may know the books I coauthored with my nutritionist wife Nikki Goldbeck. My work has been to provide tools, mostly in the form of books to change adult behavior. Recently I turned to children. It was no genius moment, but I realized that we needed to find a way to sidestep parents’ poor habits. My attempt was a book "The ABC's of Fruits & Vegetables and Beyond." The book’ssimple thesis is to teach kids the alphabet through the medium of the names of fruits and vegetables (rather than ‘car,’”ball’etc.) and the go on (in ‘Beyond’) to reinforce the connection with a myriad of activities which takes kids to a  mixture of food lore, recipes, jokes, tongue twisters, unusual facts, and other  activities. Children also discover where many fruits and vegetables come from, learn some Spanish words, and are directed to related books and websites. I am happy to say that the book is in a fourth printing and is being used in classroom situations in the US. More, if you like, at HealthyHighways.com and facebookhttps://www.facebook.c...  I have been a food writer for more than 40 years, concerned with the undermining of the American diet. Some may know the books I coauthored with my nutritionist wife Nikki Goldbeck. My work has been to provide tools, mostly in the form of books to change adult behavior. Recently I turned to children. It was no genius moment, but I realized that we needed to find a way to sidestep parents’ poor habits. My attempt was a book "The ABC's of Fruits & Vegetables and Beyond." The book’ssimple thesis is to teach kids the alphabet through the medium of the names of fruits and vegetables (rather than ‘car,’”ball’etc.) and the go on (in ‘Beyond’) to reinforce the connection with a myriad of activities which takes kids to a  mixture of food lore, recipes, jokes, tongue twisters, unusual facts, and other  activities. Children also discover where many fruits and vegetables come from, learn some Spanish words, and are directed to related books and websites. I am happy to say that the book is in a fourth printing and is being used in classroom situations in the US. More, if you like, at HealthyHighways.com and facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pages...  

 

Xxx
Xxx

They're not "lab rats." They're participants. And there are super rigorous Institutional Review Boards at every major research center that makes sure that the research is ethical, there is minimal risk, and the participants are properly informed of the possible risks and what they are getting into. Not to mention there is also usually some compensation involved. These are experts conducting these studies. They know the ins and outs of what they are about to do to these children and a variety of persons (the IRB, the researchers) have decided that the possible risks (which are negligible) outweigh the benefits that can come from the findings.

I'm tired of people perpetuating this "science is evil" sentiment when they know nothing about the actual process.

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