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Help! My Kids Won’t Stop Craving Sugar!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dr. Emecheta C., Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Dr. Emecheta C.

    Dr. Emecheta C. Well-Known Member

    Aug 15, 2019
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    Help! My Kids Won’t Stop Craving Sugar!

    Kids are notorious for having the sweetest tooth ever. This craving for sugar is universal among children and is not something they have to learn either.

    Is there an explanation for why kids are so addicted to sweets?

    Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University has said that “Sugar is a deep ancient craving.”

    The craving for sugar was an adaptive mechanism by our primate ancestors the apes, who lived by hunting and gathering food.

    They had a preference for ripe fruits which contained more sugar and were consequently more sustaining than the unripe ones.

    The high-sugar fruits also provided them with more calories as well as helping them to store fat which they could count on in periods of food scarcity.

    With the mass production of food today, there are hardly periods of scarcity to justify the binging on sugar.
    Farming has made starchy foods abundant and food technology has found a way to make pure sugars amply available.

    According to the American Heart Association, the National Cancer Institute has quoted that children aged 1 – 3 years consume 12 teaspoons (tsp) of added sugar everyday, (which is far above the reference daily intake (RDI) of less than 6 tsp/day and not more than 8 fL oz of sugary beverages/week).

    Diets high in sugar have been implicated as a risk factor for several diseases. Dental caries also known as tooth decay/cavities is the commonest oral health disease associated with high sugar diet. About 26,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 were hospitalized in England between 2013 and 2014 in order to have multiple tooth extractions.

    The rate of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other diet-related chronic diseases are increasing worldwide especially in developed countries.

    It is only natural that parents are concerned, and have started seeking for ways to curb their kids’ sugar consumption.

    It is no easy task weaning your child off of sugar addiction but with dedication and perseverance, it is possible and also highly rewarding.

    Tips To Keep Your Kids Off The Sweets
    • Start gradually to reduce your kids sugar intake. If you go cold turkey, you might encounter resistance.
    • Cut down on sweetened beverages. A can of soda contains about 8 tsp of added sugar which is already more than the RDI of less than 6 tsp.
    • Limit servings of fruit juice to a bare minimum as they are very high in calorie content.
    • Go for high-fibre, whole grain cereals which do not have more than 6 grams of sugar/serving.
    • Increase their protein intake. Protein-rich foods will nourish as well as keep them full longer as opposed to high sugar foods which leave them hungry again sooner than later, and increase their craving further.
    • Include fruits and vegetables in their diets. The sugar in fruits are healthier than added sugars and also have the benefit of adding nutrients value.
    • Always check packaged foods products for their sugar and calorie content, bearing in mind the RDI of added sugar.
    • Have some days set aside for treats where you allow them indulge a little in their favourite food or drink. This has a way of increasing their compliance.
    • Remember to start gradually. For example, you could start introducing plain yoghurt by first mixing it with their favourite sweetened version. Increase the portion of the plain yoghurt gradually until they can take it alone.

    Healthier food and drink alternatives for your sweet tooth-ed kid.

    Examples of healthier food alternatives for your child include:
    • Whole fruits – fresh, frozen ( like grapes), or dried.
    • Homemade fruit smoothies rather than sugar-sweetened ones.
    • Ditch the candies for some homemade trail mix of fruits and nuts, with a few dark chocolate chips.
    • Peanut butter, cottage, plain cream cheese, or just butter are healthier alternatives to syrup, jam, or chocolate spread.
    • Plain cereals like oatmeal. You may sweeten it with a little amount of brown sugar or some fresh fruit.
    • For desserts, try fruits dipped in homemade dark chocolate (more of cocoa and less of sugar), or topped with homemade whipped cream.

    Healthier drink alternatives include:
    • Water; There is no alternative drink to water. Not soda, or tea, or energy drinks. Water taken pure has the special ability to extract waste products from the body which are excreted in urine. Let your kids begin to appreciate the taste of pure water. You can make it more fun for them by getting them special water bottles.
    • Homemade yoghurt or plain yoghurt; You may sweeten plain yoghurt with frozen berries.
    • Plain milk.
    • Homemade fruit drinks such as tropical punch, lemonade, orange soda, etc.

    It may take a while and some perseverance indeed, but weaning your child off of sugar addiction is definitely worth the effort and something you should do.


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