Research says your child's snacking preferences may be genetically influenced
A study conducted by University of Guelph reveal some groundbreaking findings about the link between children's snacking preferences and genetics.
Cute coincidences like you and your toddler craving an ice-cream after a meal or preferring chips over chocolates is sure to make the parent in you beam with pride. But are these mere coincidences or is there more to this? Research reveals that if your kid won’t eat healthy snacks, chances are, the preference is probably genetic in nature.
The University of Guelph conducted a study where it was revealed that the types of snacks that a kid chooses is related to genetics. Over a period of three days, 47 children in the age group of 18 months and five years were observed. Their daily eating habits were tracked.
The genetic variants in taste receptors connected with sweet, fat and bitter tastes were investigated in preschoolers. A genetic variant is a kind of alteration or change in an individual’s DNA sequence. This is what makes an individual unique.
Surprisingly, almost 80% of the kids carried at least one of these genotypes. As a result, they were predisposed to poor snacking habits. For example, most of the kids showed a sweet tooth variant. They were attracted to sugary food and, interestingly, consumed these snacks mostly during evening time.
Why is this finding so important? Because if you can establish a concrete connection between genetics and taste, there’s high probability that through specially developed tests, a child’s genetic taste variant could be determined.
Elie Chamoun, a researcher on the study and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph, believes that this can give parents an informed understanding about the eating habits of their kids.
Furthermore, they can help their kids establish long-term health goals.
Getting an insight into your child’s taste variant can give you a better understanding of their eating habits as well as the types of food that they may be attracted to.
While such tests are developed by experts, you can look into your own food habits and those of your child’s. In case you see a pattern there, you may be able to deal with your kid’s unhealthy snacks craving in a more sympathetic manner.
So, next time your kid won’t eat healthy snacks, don’t forget to check your snacking preferences. And also remember: your child mimics you in everything you do. Try to change the strength of genetics by actively eating and snacking healthy yourself. Your child should follow suit.