Thursday, April 17, 2008

Taste bud counts: what babies/kids need to eat

"You are what you eat" can be interpreted "You are what you grew up eating". What you grew up eating is what you will eat throughout your life. It will be difficult to change your eating habit once you are too used to it.

So, what babies and kids eat is really important because it can determine one's health for life.

When my son started solid food, I tried some baby food from stores. After a couple of jars, I decided I couldn't use them any more. I thought they tasted weired. I thought they tasted like processed food, they tasted like jar or plastic (I mean, tasted of the container) even though the products boasted no additives or no preservatives.

What was I sensing in baby food? I don't know exactly.

Probably "taste bud" plays some roles. Taste buds are small structures on the upper surface of the tongue that provide information about the taste of food being eaten. They can identify sweet, sour, salty, bitter and probably one or two more tastes.
Babies are born with certain taste buds and they keep developing as they grow. Especially when introduced to solid food, they develop rapidly. First taste that the kids recognize is "sweet" and that is why they like cookies and stuff. Then gradually, taste buds develope as they are stimulated by variety of tastes.

Taste buds development is very important to become an adult that can eat variety of foods (different kinds of textures and different kinds of tastes). It leads to decent and healthy eating habits. It seems like my tongue senses something subtle in processed food. My nephew can detect MSG in any given dish (obviously it's invisible). We both grew up with what resepective mom cooked.

If taste buds don't develop well, one can end up appreciating only "sweet" and "salty". In that case, she/he might have to depend on junk food. Obesity risk could be very high.

Taste buds development peaks at around 20 years old. So, we would have to hurry to properly develop them in time.

I ended up cooking most of the meals for my son.
But here is another approach...interestingly enough, I found a baby food company named "Taste bud organic baby food". Their baby food is frozen.

Here's what they say:
Our company was founded on the strong belief that introducing babies to real food with interesting, flavorful tastes and textures as early as possible sets the stage for a lifetime of joyful, healthy eating. In addition to the simple pleasure that a child gains from eating and enjoying good food, research has shown that kids’ tastes are formed in their first two years. Those who eat a variety of healthy foods early on grow up to be much healthier eaters overall and have a strong chance of avoiding major health concerns (heart disease, obesity, diabetes) in adulthood.

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