In a startling study it has been found that low weight babies have higher taste liking for salt. This study was conducted at Monell Chemical Senses Centre. It sheds light on the reason for taste preference of some people for salt.
The results of the study points that a person's liking for salty taste may be related to how much was the weight at birth.
The Monell researchers found an inverse relation of salty taste acceptance by two-month old infants against their birth weight: lighter birth weight infants show greater acceptance of salt-water solutions than do babies who were heavier at birth.
"The early appearance of this relationship suggests that developmental events occurring in utero may have a lasting influence on an individual's preference for salty taste.", said the lead researcher.
In his words about the study, "A similar relationship was found in a subset of the same children at preschool age. The analysis was thus that the relationship between salty taste preference and birth weight persists at least through early childhood"
"The development of practical and successful methods to reduce salt intake likely will not be possible without a more thorough understanding of exactly how humans detect salty taste and the factors that modify salty taste acceptance." Said Monell Director Gary Beauchamp, Ph.D.
The sample size was 80 healthy babies weighing at least 5.5 lb. (2.5 kg) at birth. They were given separate bottles containing plain water and salt water. When the amount of salt water the babies drank was compared to the amount of plain water, preference for the salt water was greater in lower-birth weight babies, while higher birth weight babies tended to reject the salty water.
When salty taste acceptance was assessed in 38 of the same children at preschool age (3-4 years), measures of salty taste acceptance were once again related to birth weight, with increased liking and preference for salty foods evident in lower birth weight children.
This study is important in further analysis of sensory acceptance in children.