• Ana Isabel Silva USF Nova Salus – ACES Grande Porto VIII
  • Andreia Teles S. Pediatria, U. Neonatologia e U. Endocrinologia-Nutrição, CH Vila Nova de Gaia-Espinho



food neophobia, “taste education”


Objective: To review the scientiÞ c evidence of the theme Food Neophobias (FN), focus on the most important aspects of their application in clinical practice.

Review methods: A systematic review was performed for papers published between January 2001 to February 2012, in Portuguese/English, in the medical databases Medline/Pubmed, Cochrane Library, National Guideline Clearinghouse, evidence-based medicine sites and Physiology text books.

Results: The term FN is defined as a reluctant acceptance of new flavours. The taste for certain foods is a complex process that begins in utero, continues during breastfeeding and remains throughout life. Although there is an influence of genetic factors, these can be contradicted by early and repeated exposure to different flavours, which will modulate the taste and will reduce the risk of future diseases, including childhood obesity. As the window for habituation to new flavours is thin, the rejection of foods introduced after four years is higher. The acceptance of a new flavour up to five years often requires 10 to 15 repeated exposures. Emotions, social aspects and digestive processes, are factors that influence the acquisition of taste.

Conclusions: The gustatory preferences are very stable and can follow up lifelong and we should pay particular attention to children and parents in the “taste education” process. By giving the child some favourite foods with new foods and to stay calm for temporary neophobias, may be the key to the development of taste preferences. The negative reinforcement, such pressures, should be avoided, and the positive reinforcement should be implemented.


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