New study claims taste buds are hereditary, can lead to obesity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Are you thinking of bringing a little one into your life? Or perhaps you’re a mom-to-be. If so, in addition to prenatal vitamins and OBGYN visits you’re also going to want to consider your diet. 

In an animal study, scientists from Cornell University found that along with eye color, hair color and height that taste buds can be passed down from mother to offspring both during and even before a woman gets pregnant.

Researchers fed female mice sugary and high fat foods five weeks before mating. Once born, scientists waited until the offspring grew into adulthood and then exposed the mice to the same diet their mothers had prior to and while they were in the womb. 

After the first bite, the mice were hooked and ate above the normal amount of food they typically would. 

“If a mother has an unhealthy diet where she consumes a lot of calories through high fat and sugary products, the offspring are going to have a predisposition for the unhealthy diet,” said study author Robin Dando in a news release.  

This, he says, is because the taste receptors are able to physically change when they are exposed to fat and sugar, which could then lead to obesity.

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.