Many Kids’ Hatred for Kale Probably Started in the Womb

It’s no secret that many kids aren’t fans of greens and some even outright hate kale. A new study that was published in Psychological Science suggests that this dislike of kale appears to start in the womb. Sonograms have shown in real-time how developing fetuses make grimaces when introduced to kale. However, they seem to love carrots!

Many Kids Hate Kale and It Probably Started in the Womb
The Course of the Interesting Study

The study was conducted in Durham’s Fetal Neonatal Research Lab in England. It included 100 participants that were between their 32nd and 36th week of pregnancy. Three study groups were formed from those participants. During the study, 35 of the participants consumed a capsule that contained a powdered medium carrot. A group of 34 was given a capsule with the powdered equivalent of 100 grams of chopped kale. The remaining 30 participants took nothing. 20 minutes following the ingestion of the capsules, 4D ultrasounds were conducted.

Do Fetuses Really Hate Kale?

As the aforementioned ultrasounds showed, the fetuses that were exposed to kale appeared to be making grimaces akin to crying, while the ones that were exposed to carrots looked like they were smiling. Does this mean that fetuses hate kale? As explained by a co-author of the study and the head of the research lab in question, Nadja Reissland, the grimaces could be in reaction to the bitter flavor. Lead researcher, Beyza Ustun, noted how amazing it was to see unborn babies react to these flavors and to share the experience with the parents in real time.

Similar Research Was Done in the Past

Research on a similar note was done in 2019. It found consistent, yet somewhat limited, evidence that a pregnant person’s diet can influence the flavor and smell of the amniotic fluid and might also improve acceptance of those foods in the babies’ infancy stages later on. A study from 2001 revealed that infants and babies whose parents ate a lot of carrots while pregnant or lactating were less likely to grimace when trying carrot-flavored cereal.

An Important Takeaway From This Study

Does this mean that every fetus and infant is sure to hate kale? Not at all! It’s simply an acquired taste. This study doesn’t mean that, during pregnancy, one should eat plenty of carrots and stay away from kale. What it actually shows is that a healthy, diverse, and nutritious diet can introduce the fetus to different flavors and perhaps lower the chances of picky eating for infants. That being said, always talk with your physician about what the right nutrition is for you throughout the course of your pregnancy.