How to Get Rid of Sugar Addiction in Children
Nearly all of the average American child's diet contains added sugar. Foods marketed to children, such as cereals, fruit snacks, juices, and fast food, often contain excessive amounts of sugar.
Read: Eating Habits that are Bad for Your Brain
Even if the packaging mentions things like whole grains or describes fruit, parents should remember that the information can be deceiving.
Many parents do not realize how much sugar their children are consuming. If left unchecked, continuous consumption of added sugar can significantly affect a child's health.
Sugar addiction may not sound like a real problem, but it can have a significant negative impact on your child. Here's what parents should know about the harmful effects of excessive sugar consumption in childhood.
What is Sugar Addiction?
Sugar may not be addictive in the same way that illegal substances or alcohol are addictive, but the effects are similar.
Anything that overstimulates a brain center can become an addiction. For children, things like sugar and video games can become problematic habits with regular exposure.
The added sugar turns food into a delicious treat. This sugar does nothing to increase or strengthen the nutritional value of the snack.
Their main role is to make food taste better. Stimulation from sugar acts as a pleasurable pleasure, and this feedback can create psychological addiction.
Sugar addiction will not cause any physical effects, although many people who crave the sweet treat of their choice may feel irritable or angry if they are not allowed to have it.
How Do Children Become Addicted to Sugar?
Children easily become addicted to sugar, because most foods marketed to children contain very high added sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day.
The average serving of chocolate milk contains 24 grams of added sugar, which is a full day's limit in one small glass. That's how excessive amounts of sugar creep into children's lives.
Many parents are busy. That is why the average household has two working parents in America.
Parents work hard to provide for their children's needs, and sometimes, ensure that children are fed enough.
This can lead to parents relying on unhealthy snacks to feed their families.
There are many healthier snacks and snacks, and many parents believe they are already buying them. It's not always clear that the foods they rely on are full of added sugar.
This makes added sugar the new norm. Parents may not even realize that added sugar has become a major part of their child's diet, and children will find it commonplace.
Over time, children will develop a strong preference for foods with added sugar and may become less interested in whole foods.
They won't taste good to your child when they get used to the taste of added sugar in most of the foods they eat.
What Are the Consequences of a Sugar Addiction?
Nearly 20% of American children are obese. While sugar isn't exclusively to blame, it does play an important role.
Added sugars are empty calories that do not contribute to our overall health. The human body would be perfectly satisfied never to consume added sugar, but the standard American diet promotes the opposite.
Sugar dramatically increases the calorie density of foods, adding four calories per gram without increasing the satiety factor or nutritional content of the food.
Just 25 grams of added sugar per day adds 100 calories to your intake. The average American consumes about 77 grams of sugar per day or 308 calories. This equates to 32 pounds of weight gain in a year.
If your child consumes more sugar than the average American, their weight could increase substantially. This is especially so if your child does not lead an active lifestyle . Your child can become obese and experience the adverse health effects that are directly related to obesity.
Added sugar is medically recognized as a major contributor to the development of diabetes . Diabetes poses its own set of challenges.
Benefits of removing sugar from your child's diet
Removing or significantly limiting added sugars in your child's diet is an absolute must for maintaining their health. It is very important to establish normal healthy eating habits for your child.
This will increase their chances of maintaining a balanced lifestyle as they begin to live independently.
Reducing the Risk of Health Complications
The most significant benefit of reducing or eliminating sugar from your child's diet is to maintain their health.
Keeping track of added sugar is the best way to reduce the risk of childhood health conditions, which can have significant and lasting consequences for your child's health.
Setting the Foundation for Healthy Adults
If your child is used to eating sugary or processed foods, this will be their idea of a normal diet. They will not understand that these foods do not provide sufficient nutrition.
When they make their own food choices, they are more likely to stick with what they know.
If you normalize whole foods and balanced meals, better choices will be your child's meal ideas.
When they are teenagers and sometimes need to fend for themselves for dinner, they are more likely to prepare simple, nutritious meals.
They will crave scrambled eggs with vegetables instead of sugary cereal when sugary cereal is not something they normally eat.