Kids and Sugar: A Biological Need?


My daughter has been known to complain that bacon isn’t sweet enough. Now as almost any grown-up will tell you, bacon tastes just fine as it is, but kids can’t help but wonder “What if I dipped this in maple syrup?” We don’t have to look very far to find examples of kids’ sugar cravings now and in the past. Since the dawn of time it seems, kids have needed sugar.

So what’s behind kids’ crazy sugar cravings? According to new research, it may have a biological basis. Studies have shown that newborns have a preference for sweeter solutions, and we hardly need a study to know that the preference is present in kids too.  Researchers think that perhaps the preference for sweeter, caloric foods may have provided an evolutionary advantage during lean times, and a few studies seem to back that up. Recent research has shown that, for kids, sweet foods can provide an emotional boost too, further suggesting that the love of sugar may be hard-wired for a reason. Sometime in adolescence, just as growth tapers off, so does the craving for extreme sweets.

What do you think? Is the need for sugar and sweets simply a matter of taste, or has sugar served as a vital nutrient in lean times? Both? For more on the study, head over to NPR.

Image credit: Gilabrand


Teach your kids the balance of Healthy Eating!