Children are biologically hard-wired to eat sugar during periods of growth when their bodies demand high-calorie foods, according to scientist Julie Mennella, a researcher with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, NBC News reported.
"[Kids] are attracted to foods that give us calories. In the past, it was fruits: dates, honey," she said. "Now children are living in environments where sugar's everywhere."
Sugar consumption has been linked to health issues by numerous studies, in a country where 28 percent of Americans are clinically obese. Nearly 30 percent of children and teenagers in the U.S. are obese or overweight — up from 19 percent 35 years ago.
The industry argues that calories coming from sugar don't contribute to obesity any more than calories from other sources.