As a child of the 80s, curling up in front of the TV to watch Saturday morning cartoons with a bowl of sugary cereal was a rite of passage. Thanks to science, it may not be as necessary to feel guilty about it. According to a small study from Monnel Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, growing children may be “prompted” by their bodies to reach for sugar because of evolution.
The study determined what tastes kids prefer by having them rate various soups, sugar waters, jellies and crackers with different levels of salt and sugar. The study included 108 kids, ages 5 to 10, as well as their moms. The children who preferred sweet solutions over salty ones tended to be tall for their age. And there was a slight correlation between sweet preference and a biomarker of growth found in the kids’ urine. Source: NPR “Why a Sweet Tooth May Have Been an Evolutionary Advantage for Kids“
It implies that children need the extra sugar for energy and development. It’s evolutionary that kids who consumed extra calories were more likely to survive. Nowadays, they’re consuming more sugar than necessary putting them “at risk for diabetes and obesity.”
Adults taste preferences tend to follow genetics which explains why some prefer sweets and others salty. All children however, prefer sugar.