5 Ways You Probably Didn’t Know Sugar Can Harm Your Child

Dolapo Marinho

With our ever increasing knowledge of the effects of added sugar to our diets, many of us are doing all we can to avoid consuming too much of the sweet stuff.  Excess sugar can harm the body in many ways, some are clear to see, others are much more subtle and difficult to attribute to sugar.  Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of additional sugar in their diet.

Here are 5 of such negative effects…

1. Juvenile Diabetes

Childhood diabetes is on the increase and it is not just in children termed obese!  The increase in Type II diabetes among young children has been directly attributed to the rise in levels of added sugar they consume on a daily basis.  Pay attention to what they are eating. Instead of the sweet cereal in the morning, the packet of biscuits, fruit juice and smarties in their lunch boxes, why not substitute for good old porridge oats and a healthy sandwich with whole fruit for school!

READ ALSO: 9 Ways To Reduce Your Family’s Sugar Intake

2. Low concentration Levels

We sometimes think that sugar comes only from sweet tasting confectionery or eating tons of cupcakes! Not necessarily true!  Simple carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and white rice do not taste sweet, but as soon as they hit your child’s bloodstream, they turn into sugar!  This may make some children extremely jittery and unable to concentrate for long periods at a time. Make sure that your child is eating more of the wholegrain varieties of these foods as they give a slower release of sugar into the bloodstream, making for a much more focused child.

READ ALSO: Curb Your Child’s Sweet Tooth Using These Simple Tips

3. Weakens the immune system

Do you find that your child is always trying to fight off one ailment or another?  Most times we blame virus and infections picked up from school. But do you know that the more sugar your child consumes, the less his immune system is able to fight off infections? Try to make snacks and desserts a once a week affair, instead pack those little tummies full of fruits and vegetables.

4. Chubby Checker!

We all know the despairing mum who’s child actually does not eat much food, but is huge! Mummy, does your child dislike water and gets most of his fluid from juice or soft drinks? Many children with generally healthy diets undo all the good work by believing the juice carton siting 100% fruit juice.

These so called healthy products are actually made from a sugary concentrate which,  in large quantities, can be harmful to your child’s waistline.  Make sure your child’s main source of fluid is water.  Even freshly squeezed juice may contain much larger amounts of sugar than you realise!

5. Contributes to behavioural disorders!

Although sugar itself does not cause behavioural disorders, it is a major contributor to them.  When children eat large amounts of sugar the body is unable to digest it fast enough, so it floats around in the blood. But after a short time the high blood sugar levels crash, turning your little angel into a sobbing, screaming, yelling, destructive mess!

His now low blood sugar causes him to crave even more sugar, which starts the cycle off again. Keep mealtimes wholesome and avoid snacking on convenience foods like milk chocolate and sweets.  Help your child develop a taste for good snacks like dark chocolate or carrot sticks.

Photo credit: gettyimages

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