According to research published in the journal Appetite this year, children prefer drinking soda when eating salty, high fat food like fast food, even as early as the preschool years. Kids may actually prefer healthier foods when drinking an unsweetened beverage. Preschool age children who drank water instead of a sweet beverage ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or red peppers, than kids offered sweetened drinks.
Researchers propose that children form an association in their minds between junk food and sugary drinks and that by serving children water by default in happy meals and the like, the association between sugary drinks and fast food might be lessened. Kids might grow up to drink less soda when eating unhealthy foods and also may eat healthier food when drinking soda. The researchers hope drinking more water will make a dent in our country's burgeoning obesity epidemic. [hr]
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