Kids Who Like Salty Foods Drink More Sugary Beverages

Kids Who Like Salty Foods Drink More Sugary Beverages

When kids and teens are eating salty foods a lot, a study showed that they are more likely to consume sugary drinks, thus increasing their risk for obesity.

This study involved about 4,283 Australian children aged 2 to 16 years old, whose salt consumption was linked to increased sugary drinks consumption. As a result, their risk for obesity increased by 26 percent.

More Salty Foods Equal More Sugary Drinks

According to the report, for every gram of salt consumed, there was an equivalent consumption of 17 grams of sugar-sweetened drink.

What happens when a person takes in dietary salt is his plasma sodium concentration increases. In order to keep his body fluid in homeostasis, the person becomes thirsty to prompt fluid intake.

In this study, the researchers looked at the relationships between the Australian children participant’s salt intake and fluid consumption. They also analyzed the effect of the salt and sugary drink consumption on the weight of the participants.

All data were gathered by means of the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. The children had to recall their 24-hour dietary consumption of salt, fluids and sweetened beverages while on a face-to-face or phone call interview.

Other tools that the researchers used are the standard household measures and food model booklet for estimating serving portions and the Australian nutrient composition database for calculating sodium intake.

Sugary beverages in this study refer to all sodas, fruit drinks, cordials, flavored mineral water, energy drinks and soft drinks.

From the data, the average salt consumption of the participants is 6.3 grams per day and the fluid consumption is 1,438 grams per day. About 62 percent of the participants consumed a sugary beverage with a mean of 248 grams of sugar per day.

The ones who most likely consumed sugary drinks are the older children and the ones from a lower socio-economic group.

Sugary Drink Consumption of the Overweight or Obese Children

According to the study authors, for children who drank sugary beverages, each gram of salt intake entailed the consumption of 30 grams of sugary beverages.

Taking into account the gender, age, socioeconomic status and energy sourced from other foods, each gram of salt consumed was matched with 17 grams of sugary drinks per day.

Among the children who had more than one sugar drink per day, the probability of becoming obese or overweight is 34 percent.

The findings of this study showed a direct correlation between salt consumption and sugary drink consumption. Reducing salt intake will not only reduce blood pressure levels, it will also reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks. This bears an overall impact on the reduction of childhood obesity cases.

As with other studies, there were some limitations that affected the study findings. One is the recollection of self-reported data by the participants; the lack of proper salt measures; the effect of seasonal changes on fluid consumption; and the additional effect of unhealthy dietary habits.

Reading resource: Salty Foods Make Kids Want Sugary Drinks

Photo credits: By Scott EhardtOwn work, Public Domain,

Categories: Health