As I write this, a can of diet soda sits open on my desk (where I am eating my lunch) and I am fighting the urge to supplement my lunch with a bag of chips out of the vending machine. The reusable, BPA-free glass I keep at my desk for ice water sits neglected, as does the apple I brought in my lunch. So why, if I have an apple sitting right there, am I tempted to visit the vending machine for chips? New research suggests that the blame could lie with that can of diet soda.
The study, made available online ahead of publication (1), found that from a very early age, people associate sweeten drinks with salty and higher fat foods such as pizza and French fries (or chips). Perhaps partly as a result of this association, young people (ages 19–23 years) viewed unfavorably the pairing of a sweetened drink with raw or cooked vegetables. The test subjects showed strong reactions (either positive or negative) to the pairing of sweetened drinks with certain foods. In contrast, water didn’t evoke strong any reactions indicating that it was viewed as reasonable complement to most food. Continue reading “Want Your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables? Start Them Early and Give Them Water”