Childish Palate

We are not born with a formed palate; babies feel different tastes, but not in a developed way, which happens with time. In the first infancy children, in general, prefer the sweet flavors and don’t accept foods that are bitter or sour. This fact has an evolutionary explanation: the preference for the sweet flavor is a reflection of the necessity for more energy that should be supplied with a bigger caloric intake. The natural aversion for sour and bitter flavors is a form of protection against poisonous plants and foods. This is the same explanation for why kids around 2 years old start being very picky and refusing all the new food that is presented to them. This happens accurately in the phase where the children start to walk and become more independent. Probably that was crucial for the preservation of our species and the evolution strengthened this behavior, after all we are omnivorous and we would not go far if the children were left eating everything they saw. Clearly that there are individual differences of palate associates to sensitivity, genetically determined, and also influenced by family and culture. The formation of the palate comes from learning experiences; it is necessary to stimulate children to try new foods and encourage them to appreciate different tastes. The parents must insist when presenting new foods; there are studies showing that it is necessary to offer children a new food about ten times until they become familiarized and start liking it. Even if the parents’ efforts are in vain they should remain calm, there’s still hope because children tend to open their mind to food around 12 years old. From this time on they start trying new things and amplifying their tastes. In this phase, a new nutritional balance is established, having as base a wider and better variety of foods. When this evolution doesn’t happen the adult keeps its infantile palate and keeps just accepting the primary flavors. You must know somebody like that, who only likes to eat sandwiches, French fries, pasta with tomato sauce, pizza and sweets. Those people hardly will have a healthful diet and will be inclined to have illnesses as alimentary disturbs, obesity, diabetes and cardiac problems. Despites the health issues those people wouldn’t be able to have a plentiful, grown up and happy gastronomic life. It’s never too late to change, only more difficult; but anyone can go thru an alimentary re-education so they can just visit their childhood and not be imprisoned in it.

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