Scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center have found that children's preferences for sweeter and saltier tastes are linked to each other as well as growth.
The study, published online at PLOS ONE, found that children who prefer high levels of sweet tastes also prefer high levels of salt taste. It also revealed that children who were tall for their age preferred sweeter solutions, and children with higher amounts of body fat preferred saltier soups. There was also some indication that higher sweet liking related to spurts in bone growth. However, that result needs confirmation in a larger group of children.
Children, in general, prefer sweeter and saltier tastes than do adults. In adults, the sweet receptor genotype in adults was related to the most preferred level of sweetness.
"There are inborn genetic differences that affect the liking for sweet by adults,” said Danielle Reed, one of the collaborators in the study. “but for children, other factors – perhaps the current state of growth – are stronger influences than genetics.”