Sugar- How much does your child really need?

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Sugar: How Much does your kid really need?

Kids love eating sweet treats like cakes, cookies, chocolates, ice creams and added to that, we have enough desserts like Gulab Jamoon, Jalebi, Laddoo, Peda and more to entice and indulge their sweet tooth. Sweets when eaten occasionally will cause no harm, but excess intake of sugar and sugary treats can be detrimental to your child’s health. Here are 4 major reasons why you should restrict the sugar intake of your children:

1. Hyperactivity

sugar is bad for kids- Parenting resources by ZenParent

I knew a woman who always ended her child’s day with a dessert followed by dinner. She would often complain how the child refuses to lie down quietly and drift into sleep. She complained how the child gets into frenzied activities and refuses to calm down, when it is actually time to relax the mind and body. Little did she realise that all this was the effect of the dessert she fed him before bed time.

Sugar gets absorbed into the body cells to be used as energy. When the blood sugar levels are too high children tend to get high-strung and overactive. The best time to feed children sugary snacks is before intense physical activity. There is no harm in having an occasional Pastry or Rasagolla before say swimming, cycling or a game of football. All the excess sugar will then easily be expended in the physical activity take up.

2. Obesity

Yes. Kids can gain weight too. I have seen many persevering mothers feeding spoon after spoon of phirni (or whatever other dessert it is) for all the proteins, carbohydrates and other nutritious virtues that it has. But kids can also gain weight when they consume more calories than they can burn. Sugar is certainly high on calories. Limiting indulgence in sugary delights will make sure your child maintains healthy weight.

3. Tooth Decay

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Sugary food tends to convert to bacteria when it lodges in between teeth. This is the primary cause of cavities among children. Put a habit of brushing teeth and rinsing the mouth after eating chocolates, cakes and other sweets. This will go a long way in keeping their teeth in good condition.

4. Diabetes

It is hard to believe how Diabetes is becoming less and less uncommon among children. Although sugar doesn’t by itself cause Diabetes, high sugar level can increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It is important for children to have a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, rice and roti.

Treating your kids to a variety of desserts once in a while is perfectly alright. Over indulgence and lack of balance in diet can lead to health issues.

So, how much sugar should kids consume every day?

Pediatricians recommend sugar intake based on age and activity levels of children which go somewhat like this:

Pre-schoolers: Around 16-17 grams per day

Children between 4-8 years: 12-13 grams

Children this age should consume lesser sugar as they have greater nutritional needs that needs in terms of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Excess consumption of sugar fills them up and deprives them from the nutrients coming from healthy food items, which their growing body needs at this stage.

Pre-Teens and Teens: 20-35 grams per day.

Healthy Sugars:

Natural sugars contained in fruits, grains and cereals, also known as complex carbohydrates, are healthy and give children the required energy when consumed.

Image Source: Google Images

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