I have a bunch of friends who have managed to quit sugar, at least for 30 day stretches at a time. I know this mainly because they publicize their superhero-like will power all over social media. I can’t even begrudge them the self-aggrandizing because they quit sugar for 30 days. With my insatiable sweet tooth, I can’t imagine quitting sugar for more than 30 minutes, and that’s on a good day.
But now a research study has a new theory on why I may have such a hankering for the sweet stuff, and it has to do with children’s books (I’m looking at you Very Hungry Caterpillar).
In the study published in Appetite, a research team looked at how media influences feelings about food in children ages 2 through 4. One-hundred fiction and non-fiction children’s books went under the proverbial microscope to investigate how frequently food was mentioned. The answer? A lot. Sixty-nine books had images of food, with 57 percent showing fruit, 35 percent showing veggies, and 26 percent including desserts like cake, cookies, and ice cream.
The books that included ice cream generally represented it as a treat to celebrate a special occasion or cheer someone up. The study came to the following conclusion: "When nutrient-poor foods are presented not only frequently but positively, they likely contribute to children's view of them as both normative and desirable."
Now, can we really peg all of today’s youth’s sweet cravings on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Probably not (after all, cookies are delicious), but it certainly proves that media in all forms has an effect on every single aspect of our lives, even as little ones.