We all like snacks. Whether we do indulge in them or not, regardless of their type, is a different matter entirely. The fact remains that snacks are preferred by the wide majority of the planet’s population. Another consensus would be that snacks do contribute to your overall bodyweight, regardless of what they are.
But even among the most fattening of between-meal nibbles, it would seem like some are more fattening than others. According to a new study from the University of Michigan published in the May edition of journal Pediatrics, a sweet tooth can predict children’s future weight.
The study was performed very accurately, with a moderately large sample of 209 families. The mothers of the low-income families were asked to have their children fast for one hour. The toddlers were then offered a hearty lunch, followed by a large tray of sweets and other salty snacks.
For more details, the kids were all aged between one and three years old, and they were allowed to eat as many of the sweets and of the salty snacks as they wanted. As it turns out, those children that preferred sweets over the salty snacks and that became upset when the tray was taken were far more likely to experience gradual increases in their body fat levels by the time they became 33 months old.
Apparently, the tendency to eat when you’re not hungry only increases with age, and it might have serious consequences and lifelong implications on the child’s weight gain. This drove the team to make their future studies related to a way of targeting that drive to eat even before the child turns three.
Even though it was previously known that sweets tend to increase the body fat by a larger percent than salty snacks, this is the first time a study of this kind confirms this relationship as early as toddlerhood. So of course, the researchers are curious about which other similar relationships are actually applicable starting at this early an age.
According to Dr. Julie C. Lumeng, a practicing behavioral and developmental pediatrician with the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital,
Eating in the absence of hunger is associated with being overweight among older children, but this is the first time we’ve seen this link in children as young as toddlerhood. We found that toddlers’ eating sweet, but not salty, tasty foods after they already ate a filling meal puts children at a greater risk of weight gain.
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