What Sweet & Salty Cravings Mean in Kids

Submitted by on July 21, 2010 – 5:13 pmNo Comment

Does your child crave sweet or salty? The answer might be more than just a personal taste preference.

Your kid’s salt cravings can indicate low blood pressure or adrenal function, or over-hydration (too much water intake). Kid athletes who sweat but don’t replace the lost sodium might crave salt because of their low blood sodium levels after playing sports.

What if your kid just likes his food saltier? Maybe he simply acquired a taste for salty? Do you really need to worry how much salt your child sprinkles on his dinner? Nutrition and cardiovascular experts say yes and warn against too much salt in our kids’ diets, according to a USA Today article. Although the insanely high sodium levels in processed and fast foods (which together account for about 80% of our sodium intake) seem to pose a bigger danger than reaching to the saltshaker at home-cooked family meals.

It’s the issue of bad habits again. Kids who eat salty diets grow up to be adults who eat salty diets. Too much sodium over the years causes high blood pressure, which, in turn, is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

The other catch: Salt makes fat. Why? Salty foods are often are high in calories. Studies show that the more salty foods kids eat, which make them thirsty, the more sugared soda they drank to wash it all down. And it’s sugar that is the major cause of childhood obesity. Many overweight and obese children consume too much salt as well as too much sugar.

Sweet cravings could also be due to low blood sugar, low energy levels, low overall carb intake, low overall calorie intake, caused by stress/emotional triggers – or a need to find the “sweetness in life,” says our nutritionist Lisa Lanzano.

Interesting fact: Over half of the children with ADHD crave sweets. Yale University researchers gave white sugar to children and compared their blood adrenaline levels before and after, they found the levels were ten times higher. About 70% of kids craving sweets have much more control over their behavior when they eat foods with less added sugar.

Did you know that sugar offers no useful nutrition? What’s worse, it actually strips nutrients from the body. Kids eating too much sugar can gain weight and stress their pancreas, which can lead to diabetes and, ironically, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar.) Affected children can be anxious, irritable and have difficulty concentrating after consuming too much sugar.

Does your child crave sweet or salty? Do you observe any behavioral changes if she consumes too much of either one? Please share your experiences in the comment section and join our discussion on Facebook.

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Categories: Guides, Healthy Meals and Activities for Kids

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