"Sugar" a dangerous and pleasant word at the same time.
This product is quickly addictive and has a large number of negative consequences with excessive use. And children, the main connoisseurs of this delicacy, it seems, can eat sweet forever. But do children need sugar in general? How does it affect their health? And what is the optimal amount of sugar per day?
These questions were answered by a certified nutritionist (Stanford Medicine School, USA) - Maria Fedorenko.
Costless: At what age is it better to let the baby eat sugar?
Maria: Sugar (we talk about white refined sugar and sweeting agent) does not benefit either adults or children. But completely to exclude its use in the modern world is very difficult. Therefore, the later a child tries sugar, the better. And, of course, the quantity should be limited.
White sugar has a high glycemic index. And this means that it very quickly gets into the blood, the pancreas responds to the increase in sugar growth by the production of insulin, whose task is to reduce the concentration of sugar. Then a signal is sent to the brain to eat something sweet. And the whole process is repeated anew. This leads to a constantly high blood sugar level and a high probability of diabetes mellitus (editor's note).
Excessive consumption of sugar entails a number of problems:
- violation of carbohydrate metabolism;
- excretion of calcium from the body, and for children, calcium is important for active bone growth;
- occurrence of dental caries;
- disruption of the bowel (irritable bowel syndrome);
- hyperactivity and attention disturbance;
- violation of the assimilation of a number of vitamins and minerals
C: How much does a child need sugar in any form and quantity?
M: The baby needs glucose - it gives energy. But glucose can be obtained from any carbohydrate: cereal, bread, pasta, vegetables or dairy products. The daily sugar norm in children is 2-3 teaspoons. In this case, one apple contains about 2 teaspoons of sugar.
But for the child it is absolutely not terrible to "exceeded" sugar from natural sources. The metabolism of such a sugar occurs in a completely different way, and the child simply will not eat such a quantity of fruit that would have harmed him.
The danger is exactly refined sugar, which is often added to foods to improve taste. So in a package of children's juice 6-7 spoonfuls of sugar.
The World Health Organization advises an adult to use no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar (50 grams) per day. And for example, in 250 ml of Coca-cola - more than 22 g of sugar (editor's note).
C: And what is good of children's purchased yogurt?
M: Dairy products from the store are of use only if the ingredients is correct and there are no additives in them. Pure yogurt and kefir are useful for children and adults. But if yogurt with a fruit taste, it has about 5 teaspoons of sugar.
The most correct decision will be to buy natural yogurt and add berries or fruit to it yourself.
C: Is it possible to consider that the label on the product "for children" or "from 6 months" guarantees security?
M: Of course not. Unfortunately not all products with the indication "for children" are safe. Most of them contain a large amount of sugar, dyes and preservatives. All this can cause an allergy to sugar in children, problems with immunity, obesity, metabolic disorders.
For example, on the shelves of the store you can find fruit purees with a pure composition (fruits only), in others add ascorbic acid or lemon juice, the third contains more than 5% sugar (editor's note).
C: What should I look for in the product before I buy it?
M: Depends on the product. There is a good rule "Do not buy food if there are words in the ingredients that you can not read the first time." And it is true. The composition of the product should be short and understandable.
Avoid products that contain sugar (sucrose, glucose, fructose, corn syrup), refined oil, white flour, preservatives, dyes, acids and salt in large quantities.
C: What are the safe substitutes for sugar?
M: As sweeteners, it is best to use fruits and berries, a little honey - these are the only sweets that a child needs. Optimal replacement of sugar with honey - 1 teaspoon per day.
Sugar substitute products I advise not to use, many of them are toxic. I do not advise you to use it even in baking as a substitute for sugar. I will say more, it is sometimes better to bake for children with sugar than with sugar substitutes.
Natural stevia is a plant that has a rather specific metallic taste. It is extremely difficult to meet pure stevia. Basically, these are sugar substitute products containing a small amount of stevia, the rest are other sweeteners. To replace sugar with stevia will solve only part of the problems. But dependence on the sweet does not solve. And the child will still be drawn to sweets, not to useful food.
The replacement of sugar with fructose also has a number of negative consequences. First of all, fructose turns into fat. And for the assimilation of fructose, the body does not need to produce insulin. Insulin also serves as a kind of indicator of hunger. The less insulin in the body, the greater the desire to eat something (editor's note).
That's why berries and fruits are the best substitute for sugar!
C: Imagine the situation that the parents managed to protect the child from sugar. But there will be a kindergarten, a school where there are kind people and will definitely give something forbidden. Will this not cause a backlash in the form of a rejection of everything but sweet?
M: It will not. Indeed, the child will be released into society and there he will have the opportunity to try everything.
But first, the later he tries "food rubbish", the healthier he will be from an adult and stronger than immunity. Secondly, the culture of nutrition comes from the family. A child may buy "dangerous" products, but he definitely needs to know about the consequences. It is not necessary to frighten and forbid. It is important to explain, show examples, and most importantly, show a personal example.
Bring information to the child in a suitable way for him. It can be a story from life, information about problems with teeth or excess weight, read books, talk about diabetes. It is important to communicate everything easily, in a format of discussion, not intimidation.
C: In summer, for example, it is easier to replace sweets - a variety of fruits allows, but what to do in the winter? Jam?
M: Jam is a sugar solution and there is no benefit from berries. In winter it is good to use frozen berries and seasonal fruits, a little dried fruit.
C: Is it possible to use the "cheat meal" system with children? For example, once a week, eat from the sweet, which you want?
M: Of course, this is a good option. If a child does not eat unhealthy every day, then once a week he should be allowed to eat what he wants.
On the birthday of course cake. Sweets and cakes can be a holiday and on occasion. What can be more pleasant than having the whole family once a week go to a cafe to eat a piece of your favorite cake?! This is communication, and family tradition, and joint pastime.
Let's remember how hard it was for us to give up the sweet, and not always it was successful. But we can help our children avoid the need to resort to diets and food restrictions, simply by instilling in their childhood healthy habits and habits of proper nutrition.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones!