Seriously. Cut It Out, Sugar
May 12, 2017
Oh, sugar. We just cannot seem to get enough of you… but we really should.
As most of us know, the epic wonderfulness that is sugar is pretty much impossible to escape. Hell, even if we don’t have any in the house – and let’s be real, who are those people?? – we still have to see it as it beckons at the checkout line in the grocery store.
Now, while some of us have the self-control to merely look beyond the sweets on said checkout line – again, who are these people?? – our children, well… that’s a different story.
Yep, we’re talking about those dreaded – yet oh, so tasty – candy bars.
OK, maybe you’re a super parent who’s somehow mastered the art of saying no to your kids’ precious begging faces. If this is the case, we salute you! But if you’re not, you should learn a think or two from that other parent.
Seriously, cut out the sugar. Now.
Is it just candy bars?
Nope. Let’s say perhaps you’re good at saying no to candies and pastries, but did you know that sugar lurks in so many other, oft hidden places? We’re talking some of our most beloved treats, from sodas and fruit juices to sauces, salad dressings, seasonings, breads, and a whole lot more.
Such a list is probably why, according to one study, the average American child eats approximately three times the recommended amount of added sugars.
That hidden frenemy!
Good v. bad sugars
Sugar is needed, to some degree – and wouldn’t you believe there are actually good sugars! Most of them come in unprocessed forms like fruits and vegetables; they contain natural sugars in the form of fructose. The body breaks these down easily and naturally.
On the other hand, processed sugars – you know, the ones that taste all OMG THIS IS AMAZING WHERE CAN I GET MORE I WANT IT NOW – typically come from sugar cane and are usually added to the different foods of which we just cannot get enough. The way these tasty imps work their magic is by the body breaking them down too quickly, thus resulting in a spike of insulin and blood sugar levels. Those increases can lead to epidemics in child obesity, diabetes and even some forms of cancers. So, understandably so, it’s important to know that what’s typically too sweet is actually not so sweet for the body.
Yeah, it’s a thing – and this can start young. Because our brains see sugar as a reward, it wants more of it once it’s had a little taste. (I think this should be expanded upon.)
How can I sweeten things in a healthy way?
A lot of kids love sweet things yet don’t take well to bitterness (example: less sugary vegetables). This is natural, as children are pre-programmed to avoid bitter things because it signals to their developing bodies that they may be poisonous. Honestly, we all know that stubborn face a baby makes when they see a food they’ve learned to dislike, right?
Luckily we can change this behavior if we make some of these (usually healthy) meals a bit sweeter – naturally. An amazing way to do this, without using actual sugar, is to add sweeter fruits or veggies to make them less bitter. (True story: At First Spoons™, we love using natural sugars to sweeten our desserts – and we’ve even had parents request extra desserts for themselves! Just saying.)
So, how much sugar should a child eat?
As a rule, children between the ages of 2-18 should have fewer than 6 teaspoons of added sugars daily.
How much sugar 12 months child needs per day or week?
How much 24 or 36 months child needs?
How about 3 & 5 years old ?
In closing, remember that your baby cannot consume the same amount of sugar as you. Our fully developed, larger bodies are meant for much higher amounts. So please, be mindful.