A few years late, I'm just learning that
- Flavors and odors change the brains of babies in the womb and while nursing.
- Early exposures have a long-term impact on what types of foods babies and children prefer.
... what a mother eats influences the flavor of her amniotic fluid and later her breast milk ... the flavors babies are exposed to -- both in the womb and in the months after birth -- influence what they later choose to eat.
... mothers who drank carrot juice during pregnancy or while nursing had babies who, by about six months of age, chose to eat larger amounts of carrot-flavored cereal compared to babies whose mothers had drunk only water during pregnancy. The carrot-exposed babies also made fewer negative faces while eating the flavored cereal.
... the glomeruli for that odor were 50 percent bigger... Those brain differences could offer a biological explanation for why children might be more receptive later in life to the flavors they experience in their earliest months.
It's not just flavors which the fetus learns during gestation. Apparently the fat and sugar content of a pregnant mother's diet influences brain development, and junk food can predispose the baby to be a junk food addict.
New research published in the March 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal, suggests that pregnant mothers who consume junk food actually cause changes in the development of the opioid signaling pathway in the brains of their unborn children. This change results in the babies being less sensitive to opioids, which are released upon consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar. In turn, these children, born with a higher "tolerance" to junk food need to eat more of it to achieve a "feel good" response.
"This study shows that addiction to junk food is true addiction." said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Junk food engages the same body chemistry as opium, morphine or heroin. Sad to say, junk food during pregnancy turns the kids into junk food junkies."