Sugar and kids; is your child eating too much sugar?


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Your child is eating way too much sugar

For some time there has been much discussion in the media about the amounts of sugar the average adult eats on a daily basis. Unfortunately we have heard far less about the enormous amounts of sugar our children are consuming and the huge impact this can have on their weight, metabolism and dental health long term. So how much sugar is your child eating? You may be surprised where it is slipping into their diets.

The funny thing about sugar is that it is naturally occurring in a number of foods. For example, fruits contain the natural sugar fructose while dairy contains the natural sugar lactose. Indeed small amounts (20-30g) of natural sugars consumed each day as part of a healthy diet poses no health issues.

The issue in modern diets is that we are very good at concentrating these sugars – turning fresh fruit into juice with 2-3x the amount of sugars you would get from a piece of fruit, or consuming milk in a smoothie that also has honey and fruit added which gives you another 20-30g of sugars without us realizing it. It is these concentrated sources of sugar, as well as the huge amounts of added sugars found in many processed foods that tips our, and our kids intake of added sugars over the edge.

When it comes to kids diets it is actually quite challenging to keep their daily sugar intake low, simply because so many of the popular kid’s foods contain added sugars. Over the past 5-10 years, food manufacturers have been working to significantly reduce the sugar content of popular kid’s foods including muesli bars, breakfast cereals and snack foods. While this is a step in the right direction, there are still plenty of fruit snacks, drinks, flavoured yoghurts and biscuits that are packed full of added sugars.

High sugar foods increase blood glucose levels over time, increase the desire we have for sweet foods and leave our teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay. For this reason, the less of these sugars we expose our kids to on a daily basis, the better.

While there is no set amount of sugar we need, the less added sugar we consume in our diet the better. As a general rule of thumb, choosing packaged foods that do not list sugar on the ingredient list is a step in the right direction, and looking for products that contain less than 10g of sugars per 100g, or less than 5g per serve. When it comes to added sugars, the less we consume the better, and less than 20-30g of added sugars per day for children is ideal.

Typical Kids Diet v Low Sugar Diet

Sugars (g)

Breakfast

Weetbix + Sugar 10g v Eggs on toast 0g

School

Muesli Bar 5g v Roasted Broadbeans 0g

Fruit Juice 20g v Water 0g

Sandwich 0g v Sandwich 0g

Fruit 10g v Fruit 10g

After School

Muffin or Banana Bread 25g v Sushi Roll 5g

Milkshake or smoothie 30g v Small flavoured milk 20g

Dinner

Meat + tomato sauce 5g v Meat and low sugar sauce 2g

Potato 0g v Potato 0g

Peas 0g v Peas 0g

Dessert

Ice Cream 20g v Greek Yoghurt and berries 10g

Total = 125g v Total = 47g

Please note this includes natural and added sugars. 

Susie is currently working as a spokesperson for the Philips Sonicare For Kids range. All thoughts and opinions included in this article her own.

Philips Sonicare For Kids is an electric power toothbrush for kids aged 4 or older. It offers maximum plaque removal, sonic technology, customisable stickers and educational tools to help make proper brushing fun for a lifetime. To read more about the benefits and to purchase a Sonicare For Kids today, click here.

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