Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Hope for Mothers of Picky Eaters

Research shows picky eaters are the most sensitive tasters, provides new hope to frustrated mothers everywhere.
March 14, 2011, Napa, CA: Children who are picky eaters often have highly sensitive palates with heightened perception of bitterness. As a result they will typically avoid healthy vegetables while gravitating to salty and fatty foods thus developing a host of life-long, unhealthy eating habits that may result in higher risks of disease, obesity, and cancer. They may also be more likely to end up with diminished confidence and low self-esteem, according to Dr. Virginia Utermohlen.

The solution for preparing kid-friendly foods lies in a technique called "flavor balancing" developed by her research partner, Master of Wine and chef Tim Hanni. Says Utermohlen, "I am a highly sensitive taster myself; I was, and still am, a very picky eater and never have been able to eat green beans or many other vegetables. When I tried some fresh green beans prepared with Tim's flavor balancing technique I polished off a whole plate full!"

Utermohlen is a pediatrician, researcher and recently retired professor in the Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences, who studies how taste and smell sensitivity are related to personality, food choice, eating attitudes and behavior, and choice of profession. Tim Hanni MW is the founder of the Napa Seasoning Company, a trained chef and Master of Wine who studies how sensory sensitivity variables affect consumer wine and food preferences. Utermohlen and Hanni teamed up two years ago to conduct deeper research on the role of sensory physiology in shaping human food and beverage preferences, behaviors and even personality traits. Their research not only shows that picky eaters crave salt, love sweets and avoid bitter foods and beverages, but that these picky eaters grow up feeling embarrassed about their preferences and often alienated or even punished at the table. Says Hanni, “It is time we learned to better understand and cultivate, not punish, young palates.”

Contact: Tim Hanni MW tim@napaseasoning.com or 707-337-0327