Facts About Sugar Intake And Why Your Children Need To Eat Less Of It During This Holiday

Mrs Obiora Alexis, a paediatric nurse at the Lifeline Children Hospital, Lekki, Lagos; has warned parents against the danger of allowing their children consume too much sweetened and sugary foods during this holiday period.

Mrs Alexis, in an interview with PUNCH stated that parents could make their children consume smoothies, dates, honey and pancakes instead of sweets, chewing gum and biscuits.

“Mothers are supposed to develop a new food plan for their children during the holidays because too much consumption of sugar can lead to juvenile diabetes and obesity.

“At the same time, when they take too many carbohydrates without exercise, there is a problem because the end product of carbohydrate is sugar and it is dangerous for both adults and kids.”

She challenged parents to engage their children during the holidays so that they would not gain weight unnecessarily before returning to school in September.

Below are some of the problems associated with sugar.

Cavities

Each time the bacteria in the child’s mouth comes in contact with sugar, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. Eventually, this process causes a cavity.

Eating lollypop or other sugary candy can be especially bad for the teeth because it exposes them to sugar for a long time.

Now, it’s not just eating candy and sweet desserts that can constitute a problem, taking too much sugary soft drinks can also increase the risk of tooth decay. Some soft drinks contain as much as 11 teaspoonful of sugar, according to the American Dental Association.

READ ALSO: 5 Reasons to Limit Giving Your Child Unnatural Sugar

Obesity

Excessive consumption of sugar puts kids at risk of childhood obesity and obesity-related health problems, according to MayoClinic.com. And according to the American Heart Association, each gram of sugar contains four calories.

So, if a particular type of food has 15 grams of sugar per serving, that will be 60 calories  just from the sugar. Not forgetting that sugar will still be added to high-calorie foods, such as cookies and cakes.

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages adds more calories, too.

Poor nutrition

Sugar contains calories, but no nutrients. Filling up on sugary food and drinks may crowd out the nutritious food that children need for growth and development.

According to the chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutritions, Dr. Leo Heitlinger, too many empty calories could result in nutritional deficiencies that may impact a child’s ability to fend off illnesses.

Also, the American Dental Association reports that lack of certain nutrients makes it more difficult for the tissues in the mouth to resist infection.

READ ALSO: Sugary Diet During Pregnancy May Increase Asthma Risk in Children- Researchers

Hyperactivity

Sugar has not been proven to cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, in The Journal of Alternative Medicine Review in 2000, Dr. Parris Kidd reported that sugar consumption contributes to the aggravation of the symptoms of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, including aggression, and destructive behaviour.

Further, she noted that children who were fed a diet of fewer than six grams of refined sugars daily were better off.

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