Navigation Links
Intense sweets taste especially good to some kids
Date:2/10/2010

PHILADELPHIA (February 10, 2010) New research from the Monell Center reports that children's response to intense sweet taste is related to both a family history of alcoholism and the child's own self-reports of depression.

The findings illustrate how liking for sweets differs among children based on underlying familial and biological factors.

"We know that sweet taste is rewarding to all kids and makes them feel good," said study lead author Julie A. Mennella, PhD, a developmental psychobiologist at Monell. "In addition, certain groups of children may be especially attracted to intense sweetness due to their underlying biology."

Because sweet taste and alcohol activate many of the same reward circuits in the brain, the researchers examined the sweet preferences of children with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. They also studied the influence of depression, hypothesizing that children with depressive symptoms might have a greater affinity for sweets because sweets make them feel better.

In the study, published online in the journal Addiction, 300 children between 5 and 12 years of age tasted five levels of sucrose (table sugar) in water to determine their most preferred level of sweetness. The children also were asked questions to assess the presence of depressive symptoms, while their mothers reported information on family alcohol use.

Nearly half (49 percent) of the children had a family history of alcoholism, based on having a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle who had received a diagnosis of alcohol dependence. Approximately one-quarter were classified as exhibiting depressive symptoms.

Liking for intense sweetness was greatest in the 37 children having both a positive family history of alcoholism and also reporting depressive symptoms. The most liked level of sweetness for these children was 24 percent sucrose, which is equivalent to about 14 teaspoons of sugar in a cup of water and more than twice the level of sweetness in a typical cola. This was one third more intense than the sweetness level preferred by the other children, which was 18 percent sucrose.

Mennella noted that the findings do not necessarily mean that there is a relationship between early sweet preferences and alcoholism later in life. "At this point, we don't know whether this higher 'bliss point' for sweets is a marker for later alcohol use," she said.

Previous studies have suggested that sweets may help to alleviate depressive symptoms in adults. In a similar vein, sweets are rewarding to children not only because they taste good, but also because they act as analgesics to reduce pain. Because of this, the study also examined the ability of sweet taste to reduce pain in the children by measuring the amount of time they could keep their hand submerged in a tub of cold water (10 C / 50 F) while holding either sucrose or water in their mouth.

The sucrose acted as an effective analgesic for the non-depressed children, who kept their hands in the cold water bath for 36 percent longer when holding sucrose in the mouth.

However, the researchers found that sucrose had no effect on the pain threshold of children reporting depressive symptoms. These children kept their hand in the cold water bath for the same amount of time regardless of whether they had water or sucrose in their mouths.

"It may be that even higher levels of sweetness are needed to make depressed children feel better," said Mennella.

Citing global initiatives to promote a healthier diet lower in refined sugars, Mennella notes that the current findings highlight the need for additional research to identify whether these clusters of children will require different strategies to help them reduce their intake of sweets.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leslie Stein
stein@monell.org
267-519-4707
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Astronauts may need more intense workouts to maintain muscle fitness in space
2. Brief, intense exercise benefits the heart
3. Liking sweets makes sense for kids
4. Sweets make young horses harder to train in Montana State study
5. Like sweets? Youre more like a fruit fly than you think...
6. It looks, feels and tastes like chicken, but its made of soy
7. Monell Center joins with CAS to host Beijing meeting on taste and smell research
8. Cholesterol-busting bug with a taste for waste
9. New findings in taste and smell
10. Mollusks taste memories to build shells
11. Taste, odor intervention improves cancer therapy, according to Virginia Tech, Wake Forest study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/24/2017)... BARCELONA, Spain , Feb. 24, 2017  EyeLock LLC, ... will demonstrate its elite iris biometric solution on ... with X16 LTE at Mobile World Congress ... in Qualcomm,s Booth in Hall 3, Stand ... contains the Qualcomm Haven™ security platform—a combination ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017  IBM (NYSE: ... (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, Home Health, ... will apply the power of IBM cognitive computing to ... centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors in senior ... and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings into the ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... FRANCISCO , Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, ... today announced that it has received Laboratory Accreditation ... CAP Accreditation is presented to laboratories that meet ... who demonstrate scientifically rigorous processes. "Genos ... excellence in laboratory practices. We,re honored to be ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)...   Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. , a privately held, ... Richard Peterson will join the company as ... who brings more than two decades of global financial ... retiring at the end of April but will continue ... Sienna from Novan, Inc., where he served as Chief ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... AxioMed president, ... viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which is identical to how the human ... absorb compressive forces and return to its natural state along a hysteresis curve, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the ... to their offering. ... The Global Market for Bioproducts Should Reach ... a CAGR of 8.9%, This research report ... seven major product segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals (biodrugs and ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  SeraCare Life ... global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and clinical ... industry,s first multiplexed Inherited Cancer reference ... by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseq™ Inherited ... with input from industry experts to validate ...
Breaking Biology Technology: