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Sweets, sugars quicken child growth - research

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Posted  Saturday, December 7  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

NEW. Often parents try as much as possible to keep their children and sweet things far apart. However, now a study says if you want them to grow faster, keep the sweet tooth happy

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All is not gloomy for parents who constantly worry about their children’s craving for sweets and sugary drinks. A new research suggests that youngsters who love sugar most also have the highest growth rate.

Professor Susan Coldwell of the University of Washington recruited a group of 143 adolescents of 11 to 15 years of age to conduct the ‘sip and spit’ tests.
The results showed that children who expressed the highest sweetness about their drinks were found to have the fastest growth rate.

The relationship between sweet preference and growth makes intuitive sense because when growth is rapid, caloric demands increase.

Children are programmed to like sweet taste because it fills a biological need by pushing them towards energy sources.’
Sweet solutions

The researchers took urine samples to test for the presence of a chemical linked to bone growth in children and teenagers.
They found children with the highest levels of the chemical were also those who most preferred the sweetest drinks.
Co-author Dr Danielle Reed, of the Monell Chemical Senses Centre, observed that, when markers of bone growth declined as children aged, so did their preference for highly sweet solutions.

The findings of this study which were reported in the American journal of Physiology and Behaviour, did not link the other elements of adolescence, such as puberty or increased testosterone to a like for sweet food or drink.
However, Junk food stunts growth of children. Experts claim that eating junk food regularly stunts the growth of children and also makes them sluggish in the classroom according to Dr Rashmi Dwivedi, head of paediatrics department, in Hamidia Hospital in India.

Besides, he said, “Attention deficit disorder’ (ADD) is commonly being observed in school children at a very early stage – due to high intake of junk foods and carbonated drinks”.

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Coping : How they manage their children’s intake of sweets

Angella Kalule, Artist
I really buy them sweets for them after what happened to m second born’s teeth, they developed painful holes. So, whenever I give them sweets, I make sure that they brush their teeth after eating them and make it a point to visit a dentist twice a month for checkups.

Beti Kamya, politician
I used to minimize buying my children sweets but even when I bought them I would be open to them with the bad side of eating sweets. So even if they had them in my absence like during Christmas or birthday parties, they would still have it at the back of the minds that sweets are not good.

Sheillah Nvanungi, radio presenter
I don’t give children sweets because I know the effects that come with eating sweets. I instead introduced them to sweet natural fruits like berries though keep buying different types. I know they eat them like at parties but I keep telling them the problems that come eating sweets and why I buy them fruits instead of sweets.