The role of taste in food acceptance at the beginning of complementary feeding
Sommaire de l'article
Introduction of solid foods is a major step in the establishment of eating behavior and is likely to affect children’s health. However, the role of taste in acceptance of new foods, in particular in the first months of complementary feeding, is not fully understood and was the aim of the present study. Infants had to be in good health to participate (N=74). First, the infants’ reactions to new foods were recorded by their parents between the ages of 5 and 7 months using a 4-point-scale ranging from very negative to very positive. Taste intensities of infant foods were scored by a trained panel and foods were clustered into groups showing similar taste profiles. Infants’ reactions were used to calculate new food acceptance (NFA) defined as the average reaction towards a group of foods showing a similar taste profile. Second, preferences for the five basic tastes over water were measured using a 4-bottle test at 6 months old comparing intake of tastant solutions to water. Taste acceptance was evaluated through ingestion ratio (IR=intake of tastant solutions/intake of tastant solutions and water). NFAs were compared across food groups. Kendall correlations were calculated between NFA and IR. Most reactions (88%) to new foods were positive. However, NFA varied according to the taste profile of the foods: vegetables in which salt or a salty ingredient was added were more accepted than plain vegetables (P<0.01). On average no rejection of basic tastes was observed. For sweet, sour and umami tastes, significant positive correlations were observed between NFA and IR. Healthy foods like vegetables could be easily introduced in the diet of most, but not all infants. The role of taste preferences in new food acceptance was highlighted: a higher acceptance for a taste was associated to an enhanced acceptance of foods bearing this taste.