The next time your child channels his or her inner Cookie Monster, remember that a new study says children who are growing at a swift pace crave sweets more than children growing at a slower rate.

Researchers gave sugar water and Kool-Aid with varying levels of sweetness to a group of kids. They then categorized the children into two groups: those with high and low preferences for sweets. Once the beverages were down the hatch, researchers found that the kids who desired sweet drinks the most also had the highest urinary levels of a biomarker for bone growth.

Although many reasons might lead children to prefer, for example, cake over spinach, they might be drawn to sugar because their youthful bodies can easily convert it into energy to induce growth, said Susan Coldwell, the study’s lead author.

But don’t let these findings push you to buy sugary cereals for the kiddies. Researchers recommend that parents satisfy their children’s sweet tooth by giving them fruit; when serving vegetables, offer toppings such as sweet teriyaki sauce and raspberry salad dressing for dipping.