TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The types of foods given to
infants seems to affect their future taste for salt, a new study
Researchers tested the salt preference of 61 infants when they
were 2 months old and found they were either indifferent to or
rejected salty fluids, and preferred water.
At 6 months of age, the 26 infants who had been introduced to
starchy table foods preferred the salty fluids to water. The 35
infants who had not eaten any starchy foods remained indifferent to
or rejected the salty fluids, the investigators found.
The researchers checked with the mothers of 26 of the children
when they reached preschool age and found that the 12 children who
were introduced to starchy table foods before 6 months of age were
more likely to lick salt from foods and to eat plain salt.
Exposure to other table foods, such as fruit, was not associated
with an increased preference for the taste of salt, said the
researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in
Their study focused on starchy foods because they include
processed foods -- such as breakfast cereals, bread and crackers --
which are often used as beginning foods for infants and often
contain added salt.
"Our findings suggest that early dietary experience influences the preference for salty taste," lead author and physiological psychologist Leslie Stein said in a Monell news release.
The study was published in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
It's believed that reducing sodium intake could prevent more
than 100,000 deaths a year and save billions of dollars in medical
costs in the United States, according to the news release.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains how
reduce salt and sodium in your diet.