Hear it from an Expert - Applied Nutrition Science Diploma Instructor Josh Norrie (Registered Associate Nutritionist, Master of Science in Nutrition, Bachelor of Science in Sport Health and Exercise Science):

A study led by Aston University that was published on September 21, 2022 showed the first potential evidence of babies reacting differently to altering taste and smell levels whilst still gestating in the womb. The study was carried out by scientists at the Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab, Durham University, UK.

The new findings came about by examining the babies’ responses to carrot or kale flavourings shortly after ingestion by their mothers. The unborn fetuses showed a ‘laughter face’ response when exposed to the carrot while the babies who reacted to the kale depicted a ‘cry face’. What qualified under these terms is fully described in the study link included below .

What does this mean? This potentially has implications for understanding the development of human taste and smell receptors, including memory. Theoretically, and with further research (which is critically important to note as always with new research surfacing) – this could possibly help with avoiding ‘food-fussiness’ when weaning and establishing healthy food preferences post-birth.

Professor Nadja Reissland and Professor Benoist Schaal both reflected on the study: click here

The fully study is also available to read free: click here

In the Applied Nutrition Science Diploma Program at Elevated Learning Academy, we discuss findings such as these and assist you in developing your knowledge of best practices when it comes to nutrition through the life cycle. Macronutrient and micronutrient requirements for mother and child are key components of a program module as the impact of nutrition during stage of life changes are absolutely vital for health and development. This study; published by Aston University just last month, has opened up a new line of research and a follow-up study. The very same babies are now being monitored post-birth to see whether the exposure to the flavors they experienced in their mother’s womb affects their acceptance of different foods. I am eager to see the results as this could be promising for encouraging healthier eating practices from the youngest of ages and helping instill long term healthier flavor tolerance.

Josh Norrie MSc, ANutr