Most parents would agree that a steady stream of candy and carbs is not an ideal diet for kids. Most kids would disagree. Despite candy and soda being obvious sources of unnecessary refined sugars, kids are still getting their fill from instant and overly processed foods that are jammed with sugar additives. By looking at the labels and mindfully limiting your children’s sugar intake, you’re bound to see a difference in their appetites, cravings, behavior, sleep patterns and performance in school and extracurriculars.
For a quick review, refined sugars are the cultivated or man-made sugars and sweeteners that are added to a food to “improve taste.”
Kids can manage somewhere between 2 and 4 teaspoons of sugar a day, according to the American Heart Association. They are extremely sensitive to it. Exceeding that amount will affect their health from obesity and cavities to diabetes to behavioral issues that are often masked by other diagnoses. Many professionals are finding Attention Hyper Deficit Disorder to be directly linked to sugar intake.
Sugar overload leads to lethargy and fatigue. Kids who don’t feel like getting up and moving around are not only missing out on playing, but are slowly adapting a sluggish lifestyle. Sugar overload also causes headaches and stomach aches that cause kids to be irritable. Not to mention, too much sugar can make them cranky simply because their bodies are craving real nutrients.
Start making swaps here and there; stop buying the pop-tarts and juice boxes. Slowly make the changes, limiting the sugary favorites for special treats. Don’t give in to their tantrums (if they throw any at all). It will only take about a week before you notice a difference in your kids.