Sweet and sour sips: No effect of repeated exposure to sweet or sour-tasting sugary drinks on children's sweetness preference and liking

Carina Mueller*, Gertrude G. Zeinstra, Ciarán G. Forde, Gerry Jager

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Health agencies advocate reducing children's sweetness exposure to lower sweetness preference or liking to ultimately lower sugar intake. However, the relationship between sweetness exposure, preference, and liking remains unclear. This work investigated the influence of exposure to a sucrose-containing sweet or sour-tasting drink on sweetness preference and liking for sweet and sour products in 4-7-year-old children (n = 65). The children were randomized into three groups with one daily exposure to either the sweet drink, sour drink, or water (control group) for 14 days. Sweetness preference was assessed at baseline (t1), day 15 (t2), and two months after the intervention (t3), using a forced-choice, paired comparison test with five beverages varying in sweetness intensity. Hedonic liking for the intervention drinks, a sweet and sour yogurt, and a sweet and sour candy was evaluated using a 5-point pictorial scale. Linear mixed models revealed a significant increase in sweetness preference from t1 to t3 (F(2) = 7.46, p < 0.001). However, ANCOVA analysis indicated that this effect was not caused by the intervention. Based on linear mixed models, we observed that children's hedonic liking for sweet and sour products remained stable from t1 to t3 and was not influenced by the intervention. These findings suggest that 14 exposures to a sucrose-containing sweet or sour-tasting drink did not affect sweetness preference or liking in 4-7-year-old children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107277
JournalAppetite
Volume196
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024

Keywords

  • Children
  • Sweetness exposure
  • Sweetness liking
  • Sweetness preference

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