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 For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins

27.06.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>