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Love Salt? You Probably Did As a Kid, Too — Health Check

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If salty foods are your weakness, blame your childhood. Research has found that babies given such foods can develop a preference for them that carries over into adulthood.

In fact, some kids in the study who were exposed to sodium early on even became bona fide salt fanatics, going so far as to lick salt crystals off pretzels or eat salt all by itself.

On the other hand, infants who ate only baby food and fruit in their first six months of life were more likely to be indifferent to salt later on.

Leslie J. Stein, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a senior research associate at Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, said that babies don’t react to the taste of salt until they’re between two and six months old. “[Before that] the baby can’t detect salt or the baby just doesn’t care about salt,” she says.

But John E. Hayes, Ph.D., an assistant professor of food science at the Pennsylvania State College of Agricultural Sciences, in College Park, says the other studies have shown that newborns as young as two days to four days old may have a preference for salt, possibly proving some kids just have an innate preference for it.

Regardless, you may have to fight those cravings. More than 90 percent of Americans eat more sodium every day than we should, which can lead to an increased risk for health problems like high blood pressure and osteoporosis.


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