Breastfeeding and women's interest in specific food tastes

Luanne V. Solis, Anne L. Bowes, Dolores Vazquez-Sanroman, Kathleen S. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To determine whether breastfeeding alters women's interest in eating foods of different taste categories, we surveyed women at their 6-week post-partum check-up, asking them to rate their interest in eating various foods. Regardless of whether women responded in English or Spanish, they indicated greatest interest in eating sweet-tasting foods and least interest in eating sour-tasting foods, independent of whether they were breastfeeding. In general, the interest in eating foods of all taste qualities foods was increased in women who were breastfeeding; however, interest in eating salty and sour foods was not altered by breastfeeding in Spanish respondants. It is noteworthy that interest in eating foods of specific taste categories correlated with ratings of hunger in women who were not breastfeeding, but not in women who were breastfeeding. Thus, although breastfeeding women had a greater interest in eating foods of all taste categories, their interest does not appear to be driven solely by hunger. Finally, independent of breastfeeding, the interest in eating specific foods within taste categories differed between English and Spanish respondants, with Spanish respondants reporting greater interest in eating both nuts and bananas compared to English respondants. Together, these findings represent an initial approach to assess the impact of breastfeeding on interest in eating different types of food, and of how reproductive status and cultural differences may interact to affect food preferences and thereby to alter food choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112566
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Hunger
  • Lactation
  • Preferences
  • Spanish language
  • Taste qualities

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