IRCCS Materno-Infantile “Burlo Garofolo”, Trieste
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Key words: Sensitivity to bitter taste, Food preferences, Eating behaviour, Complementary food
Genetically mediated sensitivity to bitter taste has been associated with food preferences and eating behaviour in children. Recently, a study also revealed a possible link between TAS2R38 bitter taste gene and the first complementary food acceptance. In this study, TAS2R38 genotypes were determined in 131 healthy, breastfed, term-born infants. Parents were instructed to feed their baby with a first complementary meal of 150 ml at 4 to 6 months of age. Additional data, such as food composition, breastfeeding duration, feeding practices and growth at 6 months were collected. Findings of this study showed that infants insensitive to bitter taste (defined by the TAS2R38 genotype AVI/AVI) compared to sensitive ones (either AVI/PAV or PAV/PAV genotypes) were more likely to consume the whole first complementary food meal at first attempt. Moreover, bitter-insensitive infants consumed the whole volume of the first complementary food in fewer days than bitter-sensitive ones. In conclusion, differences in TAS2R38 bitter taste gene were associated with acceptance of first complementary food in infants that for the first time suggested a possible involvement of genes responsible for taste perception in eating behaviour at weaning.
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