Trick-or-treat wisdom: Study says kids will eat sweet treats despite hunger levels

It's a commonly held belief that children are better at listening to hunger cues than adults.

Many parents assume their young children will stop eating once they're full, unlike adults who can ignore physical satiety cues and overindulge more easily.

Yet a new study suggests that parents, perhaps especially those of diabetic children, should keep a better eye on their children's candy consumption this Halloween season.

In analyzing how 3- and 4-year-old children responded to the temptation of high energy treats (sweet and savory snacks), researchers found that 100 percent of children opted to eat despite consuming a filling, healthy lunch only 15 minutes prior.

"Of the 37 children who took part in the study, all children displayed eating in the absence of hunger, even though more than 80 percent reported being full or very full just 15 minutes earlier," said Holly Harris, study author from Queensland University of Technology.

The risk of food-pushing practices

Diabetic children must learn to read hunger and other physiological cues in order to stay alive, which is where food-pushing practices (pressuring children to clean their plates) can be dangerous, Harris said.

"For example, in boys it may be that controlled feeding practices such as encouraging boys to finish everything on their plate may compromise their ability to determine their own hunger," she continued. "Therefore they may be more likely to eat and overeat in the presence of highly palatable snacks."

Infants will not consume excess food due to built-in brain mechanisms that control hunger cues, yet young children who are constantly exposed to a culture of "over-consumption" may learn to disregard these cues.

"Preserving this ability to self-regulate energy intake early in life may be the key to resisting environmental stimuli to eat, later in life," Harris concluded.

The study is published in the journal Eating Behaviors.

Source: Queensland University of Technology

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...