Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diet Foods For Children May Lead To Obesity

Date:
August 9, 2007
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Diet foods and drinks for children may inadvertently lead to overeating and obesity, says a new report. The researchers contend that children who consume low-calorie versions of foods that are normally high in calories may develop distorted connections between taste and calorie content, leading them to overeat as they grow up.

Diet foods and drinks for children may inadvertently lead to overeating and obesity, says a new report from the University of Alberta.

A team of researchers contends that animals learn to connect the taste of food with the amount of caloric energy it provides, and children who consume low-calorie versions of foods that are normally high in calories may develop distorted connections between taste and calorie content, leading them to overeat as they grow up.

"Based on what we've learned, it is better for children to eat healthy, well-balanced diets with sufficient calories for their daily activities rather than low-calorie snacks or meals," said Dr. David Pierce, a University of Alberta sociologist and lead author of the paper.

The researchers conducted a series of elaborate experiments that proved substituting low-calorie versions of foods and drinks led to overeating in a sample of young rats, including ones that were lean and ones that were genetically obese. Although both lean and obese rats overate during their regular meals, the added calories have more serious health implications for obese animals.

Adolescent rats that were also fed diet foods did not display the same tendency to overeat. The researchers believe the older rats did not overeat because they, unlike the younger rats, relied on a variety of taste-related cues to correctly assess the energy value of their food.

"The use of diet food and drinks from an early age into adulthood may induce overeating and gradual weight gain through the taste conditioning process that we have described," Pierce said.

Pierce added that his team's "taste conditioning process" theory may explain "puzzling results" from other studies, such as a recent one from researchers at the University of Massachusetts, who found links between diet soda consumption (among children") and a higher risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but further research is necessary with older animals using a variety of taste-related cues.

"One thing is clear at this point," Pierce said, "our research has shown that young animals can be made to overeat when low-calorie foods and drinks are given to them on a daily basis, and this subverts their bodies' energy-balance system.

"Parents and health professionals should be made aware of this and know that the old-fashioned ways to keep children fit and healthy--insuring they eat well-balanced meals and exercise regularly--are the best ways. Diet foods are probably not a good idea for growing youngsters."

The research was published August 8 in the journal Obesity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Diet Foods For Children May Lead To Obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070808082035.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2007, August 9). Diet Foods For Children May Lead To Obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070808082035.htm
University of Alberta. "Diet Foods For Children May Lead To Obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070808082035.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins