Fresh foods

In an article in the online edition of the New York Times, December 1, 2013, Kristin Wartman tells us that, “with some 70 percent of the United States population now overweight or obese and chronic diseases skyrocketing, many parents who are eating a diet high in processed, refined foods are feeding their babies as they feed themselves, and could be setting their children up for a lifetime of preferences for a narrow range of flavors.”


  On the other hand, those of us who choose a healthy and varied diet will pass that on to our kids, from the time they begin to develop in the uterus until they are adults themselves.  Babies in utero experience the flavors of the foods their mothers eat, continue to get these flavors in their mother’s milk, and then go on to choose similar foods as they grow up. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in Philadelphia, “believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods in infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.”  They point out another interesting fact: breast milk is constantly changing in flavor, reflecting the mother’s diet, while formula is always exactly the same.  Breastfed babies are exposed to a variety of flavors in their diet, while formula-fed babies get the same old thing meal after meal.

We’ve all wondered why some toddlers gobble down broccoli and apples, whereas others refuse to eat anything but canned spaghetti, mac and cheese, and hot dogs.  The answer probably lies on the food in our refrigerators and on our plates.  If you fill your grocery cart with fresh, unprocessed foods rather than packaged, prepared items full of processed sugars and oils, salt and preservatives, your baby will be likely to grow up to do the same.  And a natural, fresh diet can be the primary defense against obesity.

To read the article in the New York Times, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/02/opinion/bad-eating-habits-start-in-the-womb.html?_r=0