Children love fatty and sugary foods. Or do they? New research contradicts the idea that all children under the age of ten have the same taste in food and highlights the importance of the country of residence, culture and age in these preferences.
Until now the scientific community believed that children's favourite foods were chips, sweets and sugary drinks, the very foods that are the most damaging to their health.
However, a new study published in the 'Food Quality and Preference' journal concludes that this hypothesis is not entirely true after analysing whether or not all children have the same preference for sugar and fat, considered to be a cause of excess weight and obesity for all ages. During the research, which forms part of the Identification and prevention of Dietary and lifestyle induced health Effects In Children and infantS (IDEFICS) project, the flavour preferences of more than 1,700 children between six and nine years old from eight European countries (Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Hungary and Spain) were examined.
Using sensory tests, the authors were able to determine the children's taste for fat, sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate, a flavour enhancer that corresponds to the fifth basic taste, known as 'umami'.
"The results were surprising", Silvia Bel-Serrat, the only Spanish co-author of the study who works in the University of Zaragoza, explained to SINC. "Although we often tend to think that children share a common predisposition towards fats and sugar, we observed that the preferences of children from different countries were not at all similar."
German and Cypriots in relation to biscuits
More than 70% of the German children preferred biscuits with added fat compared to only 35% of the children from Cyprus. Conversely, the majority of the German children preferred plain apple juice, while the Swedish, Italian and Hungarian children opted
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology