We’re Born Wanting Sugar

There’s a biological reason kids are so easily hooked on sugar. Humans are naturally wired to love sweet things. Even before babies can speak, they can communicate their desire for sweetness by smiling or relaxing their face when they get something sweet. In addition to making kids feel good, a sweet taste can even reduce pain, acting like an opioid.

Although sugar is abundant today, humans evolved in an environment where it was a rare commodity. We have protein receptors telling us the sweet food is a valuable energy source, so eat up. This was good before readily available processed sugar, but very bad today. Because children are too young to recognize that sugar is bad for them, they are especially vulnerable to sugary treats. Also, a recent study found that children like sugar twice as much as adults.