The paper featured separate studies. One involved a survey of 60young U.S. adults (ages 19-23) about the role of food-and-drinkpairings. The second involved experiments with 75 U.S. children(ages 3-5) to determine the role of drinks and vegetableconsumption. |
The same preschoolers were tested on different daysunder differing scenarios involving drinks served with vegetables. Older participants favored the combination of soda served withsalty, calorie-dense foods rather than soda and vegetables.Preschoolers ate more raw vegetables, either carrots or redpeppers, when accompanied with water rather than when accompaniedby a sweetened beverage. "Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeatedexposure to particular foods and drinks," said Cornwell, theEdwin E. & June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing in theLundquist College of Business at the UO.
"This begins earlythrough exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinationsoffered by many restaurants. Our simple recommendation is to servewater with all meals. Restaurants easily could use water as theirdefault drink in kids' meal combos and charge extra for other drinkalternatives." Serving water, McAlister said, could be a simple and effectivedietary change to help address the nation's growing obesityproblem, which has seen increasing number of diabetes cases inyoung adults and a rise in health-care costs in general. Drinkingwater with meals, Cornwell said, also would reduce dehydration.While estimates of dehydration vary by sources, many estimatessuggest that 75 percent of adult Americans are chronicallydehydrated.
From an early age, Cornwell said, children learn to associatesweet, high-calorie drinks such as colas with salty and fattyhigh-calorie-containing foods like French fries. "While this combining seems as normal as rainfall in Northwestwinters, when we look cross-culturally we can see thatfood-and-drink combinations are developed preferences," shesaid. "If the drink on the table sets the odds against bothadults and children eating their vegetables, then perhaps it istime to change that drink, and replace it with water." In January 2011, Cornwell and McAlister reported in the samejournal that a child's taste preferences for salt, sugar and fatare related to their knowledge of fast food and soda brands. These studies suggest that early palate development may influencechoices later in life, McAlister said. "From a policyperspective, this means that we need focus on early preferenceformation." "This important research has broad ramifications for how foodsare marketed and served," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vicepresident for research and innovation at the UO.
"Addressingthe early contributors of unhealthy eating that contribute toobesity is important for our general well-being as a nation and,especially, for improving the nutritional choices our children willmake over their lifetimes.".
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