top of page

Carrots or Kale? Study Shows Fetuses Responding to Tastes

Carrot face?   ©Pixabay
Carrot face? ©Pixabay

A recent study led by Durham University's Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab, UK, used 4D ultrasound scans of pregnant women to see how unborn babies would respond to carrot and kale flavors after their mothers ate the two vegetables.

Which taste did they seem to prefer? Carrots, which are sweet, received more "laughter-face" responses from the fetuses, whereas kale, chosen for its bitter quality, drew more "cry-face" responses.

These responses may not be surprising, but what they say about an unborn baby’s future taste preferences and eating habits could be significant, according to the lead researcher of the study, published in the journal Psychological Science.

Lead researcher, Beyza Ustun, thinks that “repeated exposure to flavors before birth could help to establish food preferences post-birth.”

First taste of solid food.   ©tigerpuppula_2/Flickr
First taste of solid food. ©tigerpuppula_2/Flickr

The researchers are following up their study, using the same now-newborns, to understand how the flavors the babies “experienced” in the womb might affect their acceptance of various foods.

They think their findings could support guidance given to mothers about the importance of consuming healthy and tasty foods during pregnancy.

Ustun said the study had some highlights for the researchers. “It was really amazing to see unborn babies' reaction to kale or carrot flavors during the scans and share those moments with their parents."


Join Our Community

Sign up for our bi-monthly environmental publication and get notified when new issues of The Earth & I  are released!


bottom of page