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Why Do Children Love to Eat Sweets?

If you think that your youngster craves too many sugary foods, try to relax a little. A penchant for sweets is part of a child’s biological makeup, a carbohydrate-fueled engine that helps them to have energy during periods of rapid growth. Researchers have also found that sugar is a natural pain reliever, and helps kids feel good. “The basic biology of the child is that they don't have to learn to like sweet or salt. It's there from before birth," says Julie Mennella, a researcher with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Of course, kids should only consume sweet foods in moderation, but at least now we know that there's an evolutionary explanation for that sweet tooth.

Isn't that sweet:

  • Researchers suspect that sugar preferences change during adolescence. Studying taste preferences in adults and children, they found that the "sweet tooth" usually calms down around age 15 or 16.

  • Some have linked this change to the period in a young person’s life when bone growth stops, Researchers have seen a link between taste preferences and a marker of bone growth in urine.

  • Growing bones secrete hormones that can influence metabolism. Other metabolic hormones, such as leptin and insulin, have been shown to control cravings and appetite.

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More Info: NPR

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