Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A spoonful of sugar makes some kids feel good

19.12.2005


Sweet taste’s ability to reduce pain is related to both sweet liking and body weight



It’s no secret that children like sweet-tasting foods and beverages. It’s also known that sweet taste acts as an analgesic in children, reducing their perception of pain. Now researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center report in the current issue of the journal Pain that the analgesic efficacy of sweet taste is influenced both by how much a child likes sweet taste and by the child’s weight status.

"Some children like sweets not just because they taste good, but also because sweets make them feel good," explains senior author Julie Mennella, Ph.D. "This study further reveals that for children, sweetness’ effectiveness as an analgesic is related to liking for sweet taste and also to weight status."


In the study, sucrose preferences were determined for 198 children, ranging in age from 5 to 10 years, and their mothers. Children as a group preferred higher levels of sweetness than the adults, selecting a favorite sweetness concentration equivalent to adding 11 teaspoons of sugar to an 8-ounce glass of water. For comparison, an 8-ounce serving of soda contains approximately 6 teaspoons of sugar.

There were individual differences across both age groups, with approximately half of the children and one quarter of mothers preferring sucrose concentrations of 24 percent (14 teaspoons per 8-ounce water) or greater.

To evaluate response to pain, the researchers used a classical model known as the cold pressor test, measuring how long subjects were able to keep their hands in a cold water bath maintained at 50 degrees F (10 C). The cold pressor test was repeated twice, once with the subject holding a 24 percent sucrose solution in the mouth and again with water in the mouth.

In normal weight children, palliative properties of the sweet sucrose taste were related to the children’s sweet preferences: sucrose reduced the experience of pain in children with higher sweet taste preferences, but not in children who preferred lower concentrations of sweetness.

However, when the child’s weight status was taken into account, sucrose’s effectiveness as an analgesic was blunted in overweight and at-risk-for-overweight children who preferred higher levels of sweetness.

Mennella comments, "This intriguing finding may reflect differences in brain chemistry systems. Additional studies clearly are needed to evaluate how dietary habits and individual differences contribute to preference for sweet taste in children and its physiological consequences."

Unlike for children, sweet taste was not an effective analgesic for mothers, regardless of their preferred sweetness level.

"Even women who preferred high levels of sweetness similar to that selected by the majority of children did not evidence an analgesic response to sucrose. Thus, the lack of an analgesic response to sucrose during adulthood apparently is not due to the lowered sucrose preference observed in adults overall," states lead author Yanina Pepino, Ph.D.

"Children and adults differ with regard to a wide variety of physiological and endocrine differences, and future studies should identify variables that promote or impede the ability of sweet taste to act as an analgesic in both children and adults."

Leslie Stein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.monell.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>