Analyses of all these data showed that not only were sweet and salty preferences correlated in children, and higher overall than those in adults, but also children's taste preferences related to measures of growth and development: children who were tall for their age preferred sweeter solutions, and children with higher amounts of body fat preferred saltier soups. There was also some indication that higher sweet liking related to spurts in bone growth, but that result needs confirmation in a larger group of children.
Sweet and salty preferences were correlated in adults as well. And in adults, but not in children, sweet receptor genotype was related to the most preferred level of sweetness. "There are inborn genetic differences that affect the liking for sweet by adults," says collaborator Danielle Reed, PhD, "but for children, other factors perhaps the current state of growth are stronger influences than genetics."
Both children and adults who preferred higher levels of salt in food also reported consuming more dietary salt in the past 24 hours, but no such relationship was found between sweet preferences and sugar intake. This difference may reflect parents exerting greater control in their children's diet for added sugar than for added salt. Or it could reflect increased use of non-nutritive sweeteners in foods geared for children in other words, the sweetness of some foods doesn't reflect their sugar content.
Current intakes of sodium and added sugars among US children are well in excess of recommendations. For almost all 2- to 8-ye
|Contact: Leslie Stein|
Monell Chemical Senses Center