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Diet Foods

August 20, 2007

A new study shows that diet foods could lead to overeating in children.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Diet foods could make kids fat. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A new study suggests that popular diet foods could actually cause children to overeat and gain weight. A team of researchers at the University of Alberta found that when they fed juvenile rats low calorie foods that taste just like higher calorie versions, the rats began to overeat their normal diet. Sociologist David Pierce explains.

DAVID PIERCE (University of Alberta):
In the young juvenile rat, their bodily system is in some sense fooled by the taste cue, so they ate more at their regular meal.

HIRSHON:
Pierce says that rats and humans have a similar response to taste conditioning, so children might be prone to overeat if exposed to diet foods when they’re young. Instead, he suggests offering kids healthful, nutritious meals and leaving the low-calorie options on supermarket shelves. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.