We all share in the quest for a healthier life and as parents, to raise healthy kids. In addition to foods with additives and preservatives, there is one thing your kids should not eat: sugar. The harmful effects of sugar on children are measurable.
Sugar contributes to weight gain
Because sugar is not satiating, foods that are sugar-laden will not make a child feel full. As a result, most consume more than a serving size and as such, extra calories. In addition, sugar promotes cravings; so, the more you have, the more the body wants. Again, setting oneself up for disaster. Because sugar raises the blood glucose level (triggering extra insulin), the cravings of highs and lows become more prominent. The high glycemic index also stimulates the enzymes (LPL) that encourage the body to store fat in the cells.
Sugar contributes to heart disease
When you eat excess carbohydrates via regular foods such as pasta, potatoes or rice, your body turns these sugars into fat. The key here is excess. Note quantity and serving size for a child versus an adult. The body stores excesses of most nutrients as a safeguard against starvation. If you eat more carbohydrates than you can burn off, the excess is stored as fats. People who eat too much sugar tend to have higher blood triglycerides, and this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Sugar promotes diabetes
While the risk of developing diabetes lies more in the genes than in the diet, the old grandmother’s tale that too much sugar causes diabetes does have scientific support. Young onset diabetes and creates a propensity for health problems when children become adults.
Sugar in quantity. Sugar substitutes.
Does sugar make kids hyperactive? Well, sugar-laden foods that are not natural have shown to spike insulin levels in all people, not just children. In addition, if you or your child is one who is sugar-sensitive, meaning their behavior, attention span, and learning ability deteriorate in proportion to the amount of junk sugar they consume.
According to Dr. Sears: Some people are more sugar sensitive than others, and children may be more sensitive than adults A study comparing the sugar response in children and adults showed that the adrenaline levels in children remained ten times higher than normal for up to five hours after a test dose of sugar. Studies have also shown that some children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) react to glucose intolerance tests with a dip to low blood sugar levels. High adrenaline levels or low blood sugar levels produce abnormal behavior.
The “sugar high” is always followed by the sugar crash. While sugar itself is not an evil, it is the type and quantity of sugar that is problematic. As a rule, giving children sugar in naturally occurring foods is ideal. And, swapping out foods that made with manufactured sweeteners, such as with high fructose corn syrup or sugars ending in the -ose, (cellulose, fructose, sucrose, etc,) will help to right the wrongs of an unintended bad diet for your kids.
Related read: 5 Healthy Food Habits Your Children Will Cheer About
Here are 9 lower sugar foods swaps you can do today from Health Terminal News:
1. Fresh fruit instead of fruit juice
Fruit juice is very high in sugar and provides little nutritional value. A fresh apple contains around 2.6 teaspoons of sugar and around 50 calories whereas a 250ml glass of apple juice contains 24g (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar and 123 calories. The whole fruit contains fiber too which fills you up and is good for you in many other ways.
2. Homemade soup instead of canned or prepared.
A can of commercially made soup such as Tomato Soup, contains the equivalent of 4 tsp. of sugar and 171 calories, whereas if you make it yourself using fresh vegetable it will be far lower in sugar and higher in nutrients. You can also avoid adding much salt as it is a leading cause of heart disease.
3. Fruit flavored yogurt for plain yogurt and berries
Fruit yogurts can contain a huge amount of sugar so it is important that you read the nutrition facts panel. Don’t be fooled into thinking that low-fat varieties are healthy either as they are often higher in sugar with a 150g (5oz) serving of some 0% fat yogurts containing as much as 20g of sugar – the equivalent of five teaspoons. You are best off with plain yogurt and some lower sugar fruit such as raspberries and blueberries.
4. Sugary cereal to low sugar versions
Many breakfast cereals are packed with hidden sugar – from the obvious sugary cereals such as Crunchy Nut Cornflakes to the dried fruit in luxury muesli. Low sugar cereals are few and far between, but can be found. Cereals with no added sugar such as shredded wheat are a good choice. Swap a 30g bowl of frosted flakes (114 calories and 13.2 g sugar) for the same size bowl of branflakes (99 calories and 6.8g sugar).
5. Swap a hot chocolate for a cup of tea
A hot chocolate contains around 4.5 teaspoons of sugar and 200 calories even before you add cream and marshmallows, whereas a cup of tea contains very little sugar and around 20 calories if you drink it with milk.
6. Swap an ice cream for a frozen banana
One scoop of ice cream contains around 3 teaspoons of sugar and around 180 calories, whereas a banana contains fewer calories and the sugar is bound up with fiber and nutrients – making it a much healthier alternative.
7. Eat homemade instead of jarred sauces
Store bought pasta sauces can be laden with hidden sugar as well as salt. A third of an average-sized jar, roughly 150g (5oz), can contain three teaspoons of sugar or more.
8. Swap chocolate for cherries
If you prefer something sweet, try swapping a 50g bar of milk chocolate (260 calories and 6 teaspoons of sugar for a bowl of cherries (90g) which contains just 50 calories and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
9. Swap sugary pop for non-sugar versions, milk or water
A can of soda contains 9 teaspoons of sugar and 139 calories, water contains none!
Are you a family in need of a food swap or have you recently done a sugar-food makeover?
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