Sugar was my drug of choice
How can you make sure your child’s sugar intake isn’t out of control?
I can trace my sugar addiction to my childhood. Like many households around the world, added sugar was freely available in our house. As a pre-teen, I remember it was acceptable for me put three to five teaspoons of sugar into my coffee or tea. I’d also add sugar to my dinner which consisted of sour milk. Occasionally, I’d sneak behind my parents back and take several teaspoons of sugar from the sugar basin straight to into my mouth! I loved the sweet taste of sugar.
Save that smile!
Growing up, sweets were given to us as treats by the different adults in our lives. And these too were overflowing around me. Any extra pocket money was sent on satisfying my sweet tooth as I feasted on various types of very sweet confectionaries. Later, in boarding school, I joined the habit of dissolving sugar into water and taking it straight as a drink! To say nothing of binging on soft drinks and other sugary beverages. I paid a price though. Before the age of 13, I’d permanently lost two molar teeth due to decay and a third one was saved by a filling.
Some experts have concluded that sugar is just as addictive as heroin.
Do you know how much sugar your child is consuming? Are you sure your child is not hooked on sugar?
Daily recommendations for Children
The health website, livestrong.com, recommends the following sugar consumption standards:
“Pre-schoolers shouldn't have more than about 4 tsp., or 64 calories, of added sugars per day. Children from 4 to 8 shouldn't have more than about 3 tsp., or about 48 calories, from added sugar; children in this age range generally have a lower discretionary calorie allowance because they have increasing nutritional requirements, according to the American Heart Association. Pre-teens and teens can have about 5 to 8 tsp., or about 80 to 130 calories, from added sugar each day."
The generally accepted daily sugar intake for an adult is between 6 to10 tsp.
Elsewhere some researchers have found that some children are having as much as seven times more sugar than the recommended standard.
The risks of taking too much added sugar:
Mayo clinic lists the following problems that come from eating too much added sugar:
Tooth decay, poor nutrition, weight gain and Increased triglycerides (which may increase the risks of heart disease).
Managing your child’s sugar intake:
It’s not recommended to cut sugar altogether from your child’s diet. Sugar, when taken in moderation, is a source of energy. Parents should be picky when buying food for their child. Avoid junk food which contains a lot sugar. Resist the urge to reward children by giving them sweets or candy. Be a good example by limiting your sugar intake.
Julie Glass from Health from the Heart, LLC, has this invaluable piece of advice for parents: "A helpful strategy for parents is to read labels and avoid products with ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup and/or high fructose corn syrup. Making snacks and food at home is the best way for parents to regulate a child's sugar intake and provide nutrient dense meals."
Read more by Sipho Yanano
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Are you careful to keep an eye on your child’s sugar intake?