AURORA, Colo.—The food a pregnant woman eats may affect their children’s sense of smell and preference of flavors altering the structure of their brains, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine fed a group of pregnant mice bland food, and other groups one of two varieties of flavored food during gestation and nursing. After birth, the pups were exposed to different foods, including those given to their mothers. The pups whose mothers had eaten flavored food preferred the odor of that food over any other, while those pups whose mothers had eaten plain food showed no preference. When the researchers examined the brains of the pups, they found significantly larger glomeruli in the pups who had eaten from mothers on the flavored diet than those whose mothers had eaten the non-flavored food.
“This highlights the importance of eating a healthy diet and refraining from drinking alcohol during pregnancy and nursing," wrote lead author Josephine Todrank, PhD. “If the mother drinks alcohol, her child may be more attracted to alcohol because the developing fetus ‘expects’ that whatever comes from the mother must be safe. If she eats healthy food, the child will prefer healthy food."