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Kids and Sugar Sweetness

Kids need more sugar than adults to detect sweetness.

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Kids require more sugar to detect sweetness

No wonder it can be hard to pry kids away from the candy store; they require more sugar to detect sweetness than adults do. Research conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in Nutrients may have discovered why you hardly ever hear kids and teens bemoan that something is “too sweet.”

Investigators gave participants of various ages sugar-water solutions with different levels of sweetness. The scientists then recorded how much sugar participants preferred and noted the lowest concentration they could taste. Compared with adults, children and teens needed 40% more sugar in a solution to detect sweetness and preferred a 50% higher sugar concentration.

Given this finding, it’s hardly surprising that so many processed foods and drinks marketed to our younger generation are laden with sugar; unfortunately, the health ramifications aren’t as sweet.

See also: Another Strike Against Liquid Sugar

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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