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Why could our hatred of green vegetables start in the womb?

Scientists hope to find out if repeated exposure to flavors in the womb will influence tastes after a child is born.

HOUSTON — A new study used ultrasounds to get fetal reactions to vegetables.

Researchers in England have released the results of an unusual new study. They gave women in the last trimester of their pregnancies one of two different pills. One filled with powered carrots, the other filled with powdered kale.

The pills were designed so the flavors would reach the placenta and amniotic fluid. They also had to use pills because some of the pregnant participants couldn’t handle the taste of kale.

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Next, the researchers did ultrasounds to see how the fetuses reacted, most exposed to the kale grimaced, while the ones who got carrots appeared to laugh. The control group showed no reactions at all.

The images suggest that the fetuses had the same reaction to bitter flavors as some adults. Researchers warn there is no way to tell if the fetuses actually disliked the flavor or were just displaying an automated response.

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So, what can scientists do with this information? They want to find out if repeated exposure to flavors in the womb will influence tastes after a child is born. The hypothesis is fetuses used to a mother’s healthy diet of leafy green vegetables could be more willing to eat that type of food as they grow. That, of course, will take more research and more kale.

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