New Series: Research that Changed Research!

While the DiSH Lab blog has been committed to bringing you the latest research in health psychology, we don’t want to ignore those awesome classic studies that set the stage for later findings. So we are introducing our new “Research that Changed Research” series where we will cover various studies that were the first of their kind and dust off and show off some awesome research from year and even decades ago:

Davis, C. M. (1928). Self selection of diet by newly weaned infants: an experimental study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In regards to your diet and health, who do you listen to? Whether you believe your mother, father, doctor, or the internet knows best, research shows that our bodies instinctively knows what we should consume to maintain a nutritional balance. An experimental study from 1928 by Clara M. Davis, M.D., showed positive health outcomes of allowing individual infants choose their own diets. In the study, three newly weaned infants were chosen to participant in the experiment for 6-12 months, in which they were given a wide range of food that satisfied the necessary nutrition for humans. The following passage is from the original article:

“The infants’ appetites were uniformly good. They often greeted the arrival of their trays by jumping up and down in their beds, showed impatience while their bibs were being put on, and, once placed at the table, having looked the tray over, devoted themselves steadily to eating for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, their first hunger satisfied, they ate intermittently for another five or ten minutes, playing a little with the food, trying to use the spoon and offering bits to the nurse.”

While we want to let children choose what to eat themselves, the key is to provide a wide selection of healthy choices. Growing children do not need to follow a diet that is predominately milk-and-cereal. A variety of food containing supplements such as amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals found in both animal and vegetable origin is necessary. Although, food preference and satiety are determined by each individual infant’s body, food selection is determined in the hands of the parents. So, for your toddler’s next meal, try and bring out a selection of different fruits, poultry, and vegetable, and have your infant choose what they want and when they want to stop!

Davis’s research findings not only changed the world of child feeding, but also influenced new studies of eating behaviors. Therefore, we welcome Davis’s research as our first, but definitely not last, entry to our “Research that Changed Research” and that inspired DiSH lab’s interests in eating behaviors and our ultimate goal to promote health.