Does science have an answer to why the child refuses to eat?
Is your child fussy when eating? Or maybe he doesn't want to eat at all? American researchers believe that some children are born with a predisposition to become a fussy eater. This may become apparent even at the stage of breastfeeding, as these newborns adopt a slightly different technique of suckling the breast.
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1. The mysterious TAS2R38 gene
In 2003, Dr. Un-kyung Kim detected and characterized the TAS2R38 gene. It encodes receptor proteins that are responsible for capturing the bitter taste. Seven versions have been identified.
One of them is responsible for an extreme aversion to bitter taste. And such people are not able to swallow even a piece of Brussels sprouts. It has also been proven that in their case the tolerance to high sugar levels in the diet is much higher.
Parents who have a "mild" version of the TAS2R38 gene, when their child hates the bitter taste, are much more emotional about their child's diet. They are not able to empathize with their child's taste sensitivity.
2. Food neophobia in the light of science
There are children who are unable to swallow anything new on the plate. Their day may start with a piece of cake and end with the same dish.
However, as suggested by the results of scientific analyzes, genetic predisposition is responsible for this state of affairs in the vast majority of cases. Much also depends on environmental factors.
One of the theories is that this aversion to tasting new dishes is the result of evolution. Our ancestors ate what they knew because they realized that eating certain foods could end tragically.
Reluctance to learn new tastes is also the body's defense mechanism, preventing us from eating all the fruit from the bush or from eating the often poisonous leaves. Perhaps, then, in the case of children spitting vegetable soup, such a prehistoric reflex is triggered?
The child refuses to eat (123RF)
3. Environmental factors and aversion to food
Genes cannot be changed, however, environmental factors have a very large influence on children's food preferences. It is said that the taste sensations are influenced by both the diet of the pregnant woman and what the woman ate while breastfeeding.
In many cases, children with sensory integration disorders also have eating problems. They may not distinguish between the feeling of hunger and satiety. The problem is also reduced motor skills, which contributes to problems with biting, chewing and swallowing.
Taste disturbance is also more common in children who struggle with recurring otitis media.
4. How can I convince my child to eat vegetables?
The answer to this question is very complex. As experts suggest, reluctance to eat is not an expression of our child's malice.
Children have different tastes, and so do adults. It is best to acknowledge this fact. However, this is an extremely difficult skill, which is aware of parents who have a child at home who refuses to eat almost every meal.
Why do we think our child is a fussy eater? Is it because he doesn't eat the entire plate of dinner? Or maybe because he doesn't like specific vegetables or fruits?
Or maybe it is the adults who make the mistake of giving the child caloric snacks between meals, which makes eating dinner difficult?
If the child has normal blood results, is not anemic, and is developing normally, a small portion of a meal will probably be enough to satisfy his hunger.
The emotional approach of parents to the issue of feeding their children is perfectly understandable. It is a source of stress for many adults. As it turns out, genes are of great importance in this case. And these cannot be changed.