Why do we like sweets
Sweets: Why all children love sweets
Table of Contents
If you want to answer the question of why children love sweets, then you have to look into the past of humans and take a look at evolution. There are several reasons why children naturally love sweets - they were given the flavor in the cradle. Amniotic fluid and breast milk both have a sweet taste and are among the first taste experiences a child has to remember.
The only problem is that today's abundance of food, including desserts, needs to be handled properly so that further health diseases can be ruled out.
About hunters, gatherers and the sense of taste
Before our ancestors discovered agriculture about 15,000 years ago, hunting and gathering ensured supplies. In order to be able to distinguish the poisonous from the non-poisonous plants, there was a clear factor in addition to the color of the food: the taste. The information that "sweet" means non-toxic and high-energy made it into our genetic make-up long ago and thus ensured the survival of mankind. They quickly provided energy that was vital in times when there were no fixed meals and overcrowded supermarkets. To this day, babies all over the world are born with the same genetic code as it was known in prehistoric times.
So today's babies and toddlers all over the world instinctively prefer foods with a sweet taste. And in all countries of the world, whether in America, China or Namibia, the same scenes take place in front of the candy shelves: Children beg for sweets.
Cravings for sweets in childhood
Our well-being and our performance are closely related to our diet and the foods we eat. It is important for kindergarten and school children to eat something early in the morning so that they can muster the necessary performance and concentration.
Scientists from a study at the University of Washington found that children who preferred less sweets have lower levels of a biomarker. This is related to bone growth. From this they concluded that the cravings for sweets and the preference of children are related to the rapid growth in the first years of life. If growth then slows down or stops, the need for sweets would be reduced as well. The growth phase demands a lot from the body, especially energy. And this energy is quickly made available to the body through sweet food. You can use it to ask your biological need.
The crux with the reward system
Sweets trigger feelings of happiness in everyone - the reward system kicks in. The chocolate does not have to be eaten at all. It is also sufficient if you just see them, think of them or smell them. This leads to a reject of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which regulates our well-being. From this cycle, the "addiction" for sweets and from this an excessive consumption quickly arises, as the need becomes higher and higher in order to maintain the feeling of happiness. Our health is suffering from the situation. Because overweight, poor nutrition, undersupply and tooth decay are possible consequences of consuming too much sugar.
Does it always have to be chocolate?
With babies and toddlers, one can follow the principle: What they don't know, they don't miss either. Cookies, chocolate and gummy bears were certainly not every food that our pre-ancestors found as sweets in nature. It was berries, fruit, vegetables, roots. For this reason, it is advisable to offer foods with a sweet taste, alternating or supplementing them with bitter or slightly salty ones. These are gradually being accepted, but green foods are mostly spurned in small children. We have described why this is so in the article “Why Children Don't Like Green Food”.
Conscious handling of sweets
It makes sense to ban sweets and snacks from the nutrition plan in the first or the first two years of life. However, it will be difficult to prevent the child from coming into contact with industrially sugared foods. Parents should therefore not only show their children how to use sweets in a conscious way, but they should also discuss the topic with them. Then they should set up rules that allow the child as much self-determination as possible, but that do not override snacking. Whether a daily serving or a snack box with a predetermined snack with free division - that depends on the age and character of the child.
Sweets become interesting when they are used as a reward, as a consolation donor or as a bribe. If, on the other hand, desserts and sweets are part of the diet, children will find them less interesting.
But if a child has increased cravings for sweets and feeds them a ton at every opportunity, it is worth taking a look at the rest of the diet. Is the blood sugar level constant? Then the food cravings are also less. This is achieved through whole grain products, fruit and vegetables, but also fluids and enough sources of protein.
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