Sweet Training of Taste Buds

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Do you like sugar because you’ve got a “sweet tooth” or because during the early part of your life you were trained to use it? According to health authorities, many of our eating habits are not so much a preference as they are an addiction-mental as well as physical. This is especially true of eating sweets. If we look at it from a psychological basis, modern society often displays love and recognition to a child through sweets. The infant’s pacifier is often sweetened to keep him from crying; the child is often given candy as a reward; even the grown-up is shown affection by a box of candy or a cake. So sweets often become a security food-subconsciously satisfying the desire for approval.

There was a survey of senior citizens that indicated their favorite food as “beans.” This might seem to be a contradiction to the security food theory until one studies the era when these people were brought up. Those were the days of the depression when people could seldom afford the luxury of sweets. Every dollar was put into staple foods, and there was nothing more staple than low cost filling foods like bread, potatoes and beans. Among the three, beans was a treat. And thus it became the reward. Incidentally, that’s why most older people can’t understand the tastes of our generation with its concentration on the high use of sugar. That’s also why most people tend to favor foods that taste just like “what mother used to make.”

The motivation in both cases is the same-security going back to childhood coaxing. What this points out is that parents can train their offspring to like almost anything with an acceptable taste. They have the opportunity to establish habits that will affect a child’s lifelong nutrition and subsequently health. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of how much sugar they consume. We are all aware that refined sugar frequently causes tooth decay, but the ill effects of excess sugar are far more dangerous in terms of what it does to the chemistry of the body. Refined sugar lowers our resistance to health problems. A good alternative to eating sweets is eating a healthful food like a piece of fruit instead of manufactured sweets. Breaking the habit of eating sweets can be as difficult as breaking a cigarette habit, but it’s well worth doing for the sake of your health.

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