lose baby weightCheree Sheldon, Nutritionist for the Sugar Detox 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, shares some important information on how sugar affects your children:
Start off by asking yourself how you’ve noticed sugar affects your kids? Because it will affect your kids in different ways. Do they react straight away by being “a bit silly”, that then escalates into a full blown melt down, or do they have a delayed reaction and turn from sweet and happy to feral cat a few hours or a day later?
healthy eating recipesBe honest with yourself, is your child overweight? And please, “big boned” is not a reason to carry extra weight, and do not use your weight history as a reason to allow your child to be overweight.
And what about their little teeth? When was the last time you went to the dentist and what did they say? Having fillings or removals in baby teeth is NOT normal, and is the result of lifestyle choices like sugar intake!
Or can you completely and honestly say it never affects them? How well do they sleep? What are their concentration levels like? Do they have nightmares? Do they have bowel issues or skin rashes?
So, there’s a BIG clue of how sugar affects your kids. Weight gain, dental cavities and behaviour are the most common things affected by sugar in children today.
Sugar consumption for our children is well above what it needs to be.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends limiting added sugars to 5% of our calorie intake per day, for 2-3 year olds that translates to 3 teaspoons of sugar, for 4-8 year olds 3.75 teaspoons, 9-13 year olds 5 teaspoonss per day, and 14-18 year olds 5.5 teaspoons of added “free sugars” per day.
Let’s look at one product specifically marketed for children… The Pop-Top juice bottle. It is 250ml. Small right? Comes in orange, apple, or apple and blackcurrant flavours. They proudly announce it is 30% less sugar. (than what? I would like to know!). But in each innocent little Pop-Top, there is almost 7 teaspoons of “free sugar” (added simple sugars). So if your 2-3 year old has one, then straight away they have DOUBLED the recommendation of added sugars for the day.
Exceeding the intake of added sugar in children increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and dental cavities. But it also increases the development of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, insulin resistance, and impaired glucose tolerance, while they are STILL YOUTHS.
Sugar can also do a myriad of other damage. It can feed candida and cause bowel, bladder or skin issues, it can interrupt sleep and may induce nightmares, it can limit a child’s ability to focus, and it can cause aggression and change behaviours.
I know as a parent, I truly want the best for my child. This means looking at the long term health of our children as our priority, and not allowing them to get holes in their teeth, become overweight, or develop diabetes or heart disease, or exacerbate behaviour symptoms because as parents we allowed our kids food consumption to be dominated by added sugar.
It is OUR decision. Ignore marketing and foods with cartoons on them and select real foods that will benefit our children in the long term.
Cheree Sheldon, Nutritionist
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