Sweet Preference Linked To Physical Growth In Children

According to a new study, children’s like for sweets is linked to their physical growth.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Washington and Monell Center.

Monell geneticist Danielle Reed, PhD and one of the authors of the research said, "The relationship between sweet preference and growth makes intuitive sense because when growth is rapid, caloric demands increase. Children are programmed to like sweet taste because it fills a biological need by pushing them towards energy sources."

Compared to grownups, kids like a higher level of sweetness on their foods. This pattern declines though, as children reach adolescence. To better understand the biological underpinning of this shift in taste, Susan Coldwell, PhD, a Reed and University of Washington researcher, studied the sweet preference and biological measures of growth and physical maturation in 143 children aged 11-15.

Coldwell found that children’s increased fondness for sweet foods is related to their rapid growth, and eventually, the taste for sweet foods will decrease as children’s physical growth slows down and eventually stop.

The findings of sensory taste tests showed that children were grouped according to their taste preference into a ‘high preference” or ”low preference” or low "low preference group" group.

Children who belong to the low preference group were found to have lower levels of a biomarker (type I collagen cross-linked N-teleopeptides; NTx) associated with bone growth in children and adolescence.

"This gives us the first link between sweet preference and biological need. When markers of bone growth decline as children age, so does their preference for highly sweet solutions," said Reed.

Other physical functions are not associated with adolescence, such as puberty or sex hormones level and have nothing to do with their like for sweet preference.

Source: Medical News Today