Sugar has become our biggest enemy in terms of health being the main trigger for many diseases. Moreover, it is addictive making the person to always want more.
We give sugar to our children as well and in most cases as reward for their good behavior or for special occasions like holidays and birthdays.
A birthday is not a birthday without a cake; holidays like Halloween and Easter are not imaginable without sweets. But, one lady a mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, Shan Cooper, decided to do something that most parents are not so much determined to do, offering her child a diet free of refined sugar, dairy, grains, and processed foods. She and her daughter follow the Paleo diet, so for breakfast they have eggs in coconut oil, roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, steamed broccoli, a quarter of an avocado, and a spoonful of sauerkraut, and for dinner organic chicken and vegetables.
Grace Cooper follows only this diet and her immune system is extremely strong, and up to now her mother says that she never had a cold. However, Shan does not intend to be very strict in terms of the diet to Shan, she will for sure guide her, but when she is older, she will not force it to follow it.
What do you think; did Grace do the right thing?
When you consider the content of baby food sold on the market, and then for sure you will find her decision correct. Namely, aside the content of sugar, baby food is also packed with chemicals, sodium, preservatives, lead, and fluoride that can seriously affect the health of children and toddlers. Taste buds of babies are developing and sensitive, and they still do not have the need for any refined foods, so the organic source of sugar is sufficient for their needs.
The labels of many baby foods claim that they do not contain sugar, but in fact that is not true. Many baby foods are very high in sugar and not high in nutrients. The used vegetables and fruits are processed by ultra-high heat and afterwards shipped to baby food manufactures. In the factories they are boiled thus removing most of the nutrients leaving only the high sugar levels.
For a comparison check the content of 71- gram servings of commercial banana purees and an actual mashed banana:
The Nutritional Value of Earth’s Best 1st Bananas
Sugar: 12 grams
Sodium: 20 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
*4 grams equals 1 teaspoon of sugar
The Nutritional Value of Gerber 1st Foods Banana Purée
Sugar: 13 grams
Sodium: 5 milligrams
Fiber: less than 1 gram
The Nutritional Value of Mashed Banana
Dr. Svetlana Pomerantes, MD refers to the safe amount of sugar that our children should consume: “Let’s start by looking at American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations. The new guidelines call for less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for children ages 2 to 18 years. That includes no more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks per week. I advise parents to read food labels, find ‘sugar,’ and do the math — every 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. “
“The worst sugars are in processed foods, sports drinks, pop, desserts, and fruit juice. Don’t rush to introduce fruit juice — it has no nutritional value.”
In addition to this, Dr. Edward Gaydos, DO, states the following:
“Children younger than 2 years should have no sugar at all”.
Gaydos continues: “eating brings joy, but that joy should be geared toward the process of satisfying hunger and spending time with family. Children can’t choose a well-balanced diet. But adults can, and should — right from the beginning.”
You can easily get addicted to sugar since sweetness is something that we all like but the danger to our health is great like developing type-2 diabetes and suffering from obesity. Knowing this you should avoid this from happening for your children. Here are some useful tips that will help in lowering the intake of sugar in your children’s diet:
Tips How to Cut Down on Sugar in Children
- Set an example by reducing your sugar intake
- Eat your meals at home as often as you can
- Explain the advantages of the consumption of healthy foods and have food rules when going out
- Do not keep foods that are high in sugar at home
- Explain your goals to the other members of your family and thus gain their support as well
- Do not use sweets as a reward
If you are a person that likes sweetness a lot, then do not despair, you can still enjoy all your sweet desserts as there are healthy alternatives to them that instead of refined sugar contain honey or pure maple syrup.