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So where is this sweet tooth coming from?

Monday, January 22, 2018

All my life I have preferred salty potato chips and french fries to sweets and chocolate.
I am a salt-aholic, not a choc-aholic. I would much rather have a large order of french fries, served with vinegar and salt than a piece of cake or ice cream.
In fact, if I am hungry and eat something sweet, it only makes me hungrier.

But recently, I find that I am craving sweets more often. And I decided to find out if this was a common phenomenon as we age. (In the interest of full disclosure here, I am 72.) So I went onto the World Wide Web to see what I could find out.

Yes, according to what I found on the internet, it seems that a lot of people develop a sweet tooth with ageing.

Most of the articles I read were written by caregivers, and some were found in newspapers or online blogs. There were not many that originated from medical sources.
These various pieces speculated that the sweet tooth was from any number of factors:
--hormones: after menopause, the hormones bring on a sweet tooth
--taste buds: they diminish with age, and sweetness remains a stronger taste than salt, so seniors prefer sweets.
--reduction in a sense of smell: also reduces our ability to taste food. Sweet tastes are stronger than salty taste, so they are preferred.
--attitude: some proposed that seniors feel they have made it to old age, so now they are entitled to eat whatever they want to eat.
--onset of disease: developing a sweet tooth can be a symptom of the onset of diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.


For me, I think it is a holdover from all the sweets I ate over the holidays. Whenever I overeat sweets, it takes me a while to come down again to a regular diet. The more sweets I eat, the more I want to eat them.

It is very much like an addiction. I have to 'get off' sweets and get back to normal.
I do know that I always feel so much better when I restrict sweets in my diet.

So I am in the process of doing that again.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for doing the research on this! Some days I prefer salty foods, and on others I am ravenous for sweets.

    Not that I eat chocolate every day or even every week, but I have to know I've always got some in the house "just in case." I know this is goofy, but I especially crave it when I know there is not a bit of chocolate around. As long as I can "hide" it from myself, I can usually resist it.

    Like you, I do feel better when I restrict the sweets.

    277 days ago
    Yup, those holiday triggers "work" for me (against me really!) for salty stuff too.
    296 days ago
    296 days ago
    296 days ago
    Interesting - emoticon
    I need to 'cut' them out too...
    297 days ago
    I have had a sweet tooth since young. I mostly keep it very controlled. If I do splurge (like you say around the holidays or something) I always need time to get back down to normal, so I am not craving so much. It has been the same as I age sofar
    297 days ago
  • no profile photo TOWERGIRL_2018
    I've had a sweet tooth my whole life, and for me.....sugar begets sugar! It is a very strong trigger for me, to overeat/ binge...sugar is not my friend!! Great info!
    297 days ago
    Yep. Once I start it’s hard to stop although my preference is savory, spicy.
    I notice DH has become a chocoholic.
    297 days ago
    Oh no. Not good but that explains why I my sweet tooth seems to be out of whack since Christmas. I am working hard to get it back under control. Seems like the older I get, the harder it is to control
    297 days ago
  • NANCY-
    As a carboholic, who craves both salt and sweet, I find that the craving diminishes is we don't feed it. So I agree with you that it is very much like an addiction.
    297 days ago
    I for sure agree that as aging goes on, the taste buds do sense sweet aove all. Mom and Dad lived with me and that was their preference.

    It is also truth that when we eat carbs, we crave more.

    Soooo, continue on your path to decrease your carbs and see what's what.

    And remember with disease processes there are other symptoms, as well.
    297 days ago
    At one point, I worked with a lot of elderly people and found that they often ate their dessert first. For one thing, as we age our teeth age too and it's usually easier to eat desserts which are often creamy and sweet rather than something chewy like meat. They often had trouble with the meat. When I would ask them about them eating the dessert first they would state that their appetite was limited and they wanted to make sure they had room for the dessert. LOL. So I think some of it is viewed as a deserved reward for longevity as you stated. It's not easy to find rewards for older people, as people who buy them gifts well know. They don't need another trinket. Some foods become harder to digest as we age too but sugar is always easily digested. Sweets raise my blood sugar and make me crave more sweets. The more carbs you eat the more you crave. Older people don't metabolize carbs as well as younger people usually.
    297 days ago
    Thanks for sharing! I have also been a salt-o-holic my whole life, but have definitely developed more sweets cravings. I think you're right, it's got to be from too many holiday treats. I feel your pain :)
    298 days ago
    I'm with the theory about addictive properties of sweets. I, too, have to take myself "down" off them if I indulge, even briefly!
    298 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Don't forget those hidden sugars.

    I've recently started paying closer attention to labels. Sugar in the throat lozenges I've used for horrible cough past month. Sugar in the lemon pepper seasoning. High Fructose Sugar in Cool Whip -- had a container on hand from making a dessert for spouse's work holiday dinner and recall reading some SP eat this in place of ice cream so decided to follow suit. These hidden sugars, and likely others, have stoked my addiction that flared up over the holiday.

    Sweet tooth here since childhood (I'm closing in on age 69).

    We just need to keep on keeping on in our quests for better health.

    298 days ago
    Great info, thanks! Sounds like you have it all in hand. emoticon
    298 days ago
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