A study conducted by researchers from the Touro University California and University of California San Francisco showed that sugar intake reduction among children can make them healthier. In just 10 days, the overweight children who participated in the study showed improvements in their glucose tolerance, blood lipids levels and liver health.
This leads to the question, is sugar toxic to overall health? When people have high intake of sugary foods, it is most likely to result in weight gain especially among inactive people, even children. When partnered with a sedentary lifestyle, high sugar intake increases one's risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
High sugar consumption and increased risks of diabetes continue to raise concerns among health officials in the United States (U.S.) and around the world. In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that children and adults should cut their sugar intake to roughly 10 percent of their daily calorie consumption.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also targeting to lower sugar consumption by recommending the addition of added sugar amounts on nutrition labels. Moreover, the FDA proposed that labels include the caveat that 200 calories is the recommended maximum daily sugar intake. This amount is merely 40 calories less that a 20-ounce Coca-Cola drink.
In a 2015 report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August revealed that one out of five children is obese. In the United Kingdom, a report from Soil Association found that the two medium-sized soft drink served three major food chains pack in 17.5 sugar cubes, an amount way beyond the National Health Service's guidelines of daily sugar intake for children aged four to six years old.
Limiting the amount of sugar children eat at an early age can set the foundation of their lifestyle and health in adulthood. Here are some recommended ways on how to cut sugar from your child's daily diet.
Learn how to bake.
Mass produced baked treats are often high in sugar, especially those cereal bars. Just because the label says cereals and fat free, it doesn't mean they're healthy. Cookies rank high in children's top favorite snacks. Learning how to recreate favorite snacks using less sugar and healthier alternatives will not only reduce sugar intake but will keep you mindful of what you put in.
Get rid of sugary beverages.
Keep away from fizzy drinks during childhood is easier compared in adulthood when stress levels go up. Fizzy drinks are often blamed for the majority of sugar responsible for weight gain, obesity and even diabetes. Swap sugary beverages with healthier options like real fruit juices and healthy smoothies.
Look out for hidden sugars.
Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. Hidden sugars in spaghetti and barbecue sauces, canned meat and even beans can be just as bad as those donuts when taken regularly and in large amounts. If you can help it, homemade versions of favorite staples like spaghetti sauce can lead to substantial changes in sugar reduction in the long run.
Don't make sweets a daily dessert.
Most people think that the best way to keep children from eating sweets is to turn it into a 'reward' after going through a plate broccoli. This could lead to a mindset that some foods are better than others which could mean that they will look at broccoli and other vegetables on their plate as 'bad food' that they need to suffer through before they can sink their teeth into a chocolate bar.
Keeping treats 'treats' can be a good thing as long you don't threaten or cajole children into thinking that a bar of chocolate lies beyond the plate of unappetizing greens. Serve frozen grapes or baked apples for dessert and save the chocolate bars for the weekends.