Background: Taste preference is an important determinant of dietary intake and is influenced by taste exposure in early life. However, data on dietary taste patterns in early childhood are scarce. Objectives: We aimed to evaluate dietary taste patterns in early childhood, to examine their tracking between the ages of 1 and 2 y, and to examine their associations with socioeconomic and lifestyle factors. Methods: Dietary intake of children participating in a population-based cohort was assessed with a 211-item age-specific FFQ at the ages of 1 y (n = 3629) and 2 y (n = 844) (2003–2007). Taste intensity values of FFQ food items were calculated based on a food taste database that had been previously constructed and evaluated using a trained adult sensory panel. Cluster analysis based on taste values identified 5 taste clusters that we named: “neutral,” “sweet and sour,” “sweet and fat,” “fat,” and “salt, umami and fat.” Linear regression models were used to examine associations of percentage energy (E%) intake from these taste clusters with socioeconomic and lifestyle factors. Results: At the age of 1 y, 64% ± 13% (mean ± SD) of energy intake was obtained from the “neutral” cluster, whereas at age 2 y, this was 42% ± 8%. At age 2 y, children had higher energy intakes from the “sweet and fat” (18% ± 7%), “fat” (11% ± 4%), and “salt, umami, and fat” (18% ± 6%) clusters than at age 1 y (7% ± 6%, 6% ± 4%, and 11% ± 6%, respectively). In multivariable models, older maternal age, longer breastfeeding duration, and later introduction of complementary feeding were associated with more energy from the “neutral” cluster (e.g., β: 0.31 E%; 95% CI: 0.19, 0.43 E% per 1 mo longer breastfeeding). Higher child BMI was associated with more energy from the “salt, umami, and fat” cluster (β: 0.22 E%; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.38 E% per BMI standard deviation score). Conclusions: Dietary taste patterns in this Dutch cohort were more varied and intense in taste at age 2 y than at 1 y, reaching a level similar to that previously observed in Dutch adults. Important factors related to dietary taste patterns of young children are maternal sociodemographic factors and feeding practices.

Child nutrition, Dietary patterns, Infancy, Infant diet, Population-based, Taste, Tracking,
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Department of Epidemiology

Nguyen, A.N, van Langeveld, A.W.B. (Astrid W.B.), de Vries, J.H, Ikram, M.A, de Graaf, C. (Cees), Mars, M. (Monica), & Voortman, R.G. (2021). Dietary taste patterns in early childhood: The Generation R Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 113(1), 63–69. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa296