Taste preferences of infants for sweetened or unsweetened foods

Authors

  • Dr. Marie S. Brown,

    Associate Professor, Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
    • School of Nursing, University of Colorado Medical Center, 4200 East Ninth Avenue, Denver, CO 80262
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  • Ms. Carol C. Grunfeld

    Research Assistant
    1. School of Nursing, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
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Abstract

The authors would like to express appreciation to the following: Pediatric Lakewood Office of Colorado Permanente Medical Group, particularly chief pediatrician Virgil A. LaFleur, M.D., for assisting in the recruitment of subjects; Dr. Laura Driscoll and Dr. Patricia Prescott for their extensive contribution of time, effort, and expertise in analyzing data; Gerber Baby Food Company, Apple Tree Fruit Juice Company, Del Monte Fruit Company, Tillie Lewis Diet Foods, and Welch's Grape Juice for donations of sugar-free fruits and juices. This is a report of research on whether or not the addition of sugar to foods consumed by babies early in their feeding significantly alters later preference for sweetened or unsweetened foods. Twenty control babies were fed regular baby food (which already has additional sugar) for the first 3 months of their solid-food feeding experience; 20 experimental babies were fed a diet with no added sugar for a similar time period. The two groups were then studied during a 4-week period in which they were randomly assigned to four different sequences of sweetened and unsweetened food. Their reactions to sweetened and unsweetened food were scored according to parental interpretation of their preferences and according to how much food they consumed. Neither group was found to prefer sweetened or unsweetened food. This finding is in contradiction of other studies and common lay and clinical views that infants prefer sweetened foods. It would seem that if babies do not prefer sweet foods, there is certainly no reason to add sugar to commercial products.

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