The Australian Paradox is confirmed: sugar intakes are falling

Last year’s contentious finding that intakes of sugar in Australia have declined over recent decades as obesity rates rose was attacked mercilessly, but the publication of a new report has vindicated the researchers.

In the last few years sugar has become public enemy number one in the fight against obesity. Not only is sugar supposedly making us all fat, sugar is actually toxic (Is sugar ‘toxic’?) and even addictive (Now sugar is ‘addictive). Or at least that’s the story you hear from the popular press.

With anti-sugar sentiment at fever pitch, two Australian nutritionists had a radical thought: why not look at some scientific evidence?

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Why do children prefer sweet foods?

All children like sweet foods. Maybe now we know why.

All humans appreciate sweetness in foods. However, this preference for sweetness is not constant throughout life; it’s age-dependent, being strong in children but relatively weak in adults. The transition occurs in late adolescence, in both sexes. This is not a western phenomenon – it is experienced in all races and cultures.

But why is it so? What purpose does the preference for sweetness in childhood serve? Is it a problem? And should nutritionists intervene to manage children’s preference for sweetness?

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