The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that, on average, 17% of a child’s diet is sugar.1 The AAP also notes that over half of this comes from drinks containing added sugar. This is significantly more than is recommended by organizations like Heart.org2 who indicate that children should not consume more than 25g, six teaspoons, of sugar per day.3 So, what are some of the health consequences, as a result of overeating sugar, facing our children today? And how can we limit added sugar in our children’s diet?
Sugar comes in many forms and has many names.4 It is a harvestable crop that has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years.5 Sugar is also found in fruits and some vegetables. Sugar has gone on to be processed into many forms and is used for, and to enhance flavor and to improve shelf-life, along with several other uses. In the modern age, we are now being faced with hidden sugar in processed foods. Many efforts are being put into clearer labeling,6 and things are improving, with some product labeling added sugar separately.7 This is important, as we have mentioned before, sugar stimulates the reward part of our brains and therefore, can be addictive. Consumers need to know just what is in their food and what they are potentially feeding their children.
High levels of added sugar in a child’s diet can put them at risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and dental concerns.8 Several studies also show that a child eating a diet with high levels of sugar can impact behavior and learning.9 One study has also suggested that children with higher sugar consumption levels may be more likely to show signs of learning disabilities.10
Here are Ruth’s top 5 tips for reducing sugar in your child’s diet.
1. Educate yourself on what to look for on labels. We liked Dr. Smarty’s tips on reading labels. Click here to watch the short video. 11
2. Limit drinks with added sugar. Consider serving milk or a milk alternative. Flavor water naturally with cut fruit and dilute pure fruit juices with water or fizzy water.
3. Incorporate sugar-free snacks into your child’s diet. Make it fun and homemade where possible. Helping your child see amounts of ingredients going into food will educate them and could be fun!
4. Choose fresh over processed foods. Foods with long shelf life often are packed with preservatives and hidden sugars. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables.
5. If you are going to be out for the day, prepare sugar-free snacks so you aren’t tempted to reach for snacks that might be convenient but are full of sugar.
The effects of sugar on children can be vast, and its overconsumption can lead to many health risks. XTEND5 products are sugar-free and are full of ancient ingredients. As a wellness company, we are passionate about education, reducing inflammation, and increasing bioavailability. Check out our child-specific products, Sleepy Sloth and Calma Llama, and how they can be a resource to your children today.
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