Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
67 66 am genuinely passionate and interested in all things nutrition-related and sugar in particular, is the area that I get questioned about the most. Refined sugar regularly receives bad press, but despite what you may have read or heard, I believe there is nothing wrong with a little bit of sweetness in your child’s diet. With a few simple tweaks to some of your favourite recipes, your family can still enjoy these types of foods in moderation. As with so many things, moderation and balance is key. I am all for encouraging a diet that is largely free of refined sugars, but I’m also a mother and a realist and I know that the occasional sweet treat is not going to cause any long-term damage. Before I get to the recommended sugar intake and which sweeteners are most nutrient-dense for children, let’s first get a clearer understanding of why sugar has become so demonised. The short answer is this – as our food supply has changed, we’ve unknowingly begun to consume too much sugar that is often hidden in processed foods once considered healthy. Things like vegetable soups, pasta sauce, yoghurt, bagels or muesli all have significant quantities of hidden refined sugar. Nutrition information panels on packaged foods don’t always help us to navigate the sugar minefield, as different types of sugars are usually disguised or listed together as one component under the label ’sugar ’. Because of this, it’s important to look closely at the ingredients list to understand what type of sugar is in your child’s favourite foods, identify its many hidden names and look for non-processed healthier alternatives. Why worry about added sugar? 1. Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in adults, usually after the age of 30. Just 15 years ago it was unheard of for children or teenagers to develop the disease. These days, increasing numbers of teenagers and children are developing type 2 diabetes or the pre-diabetic condition known as impaired glucose tolerance, which occurs when the glucose (sugar) in your child’s blood is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can result when the body becomes less sensitive to insulin (a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels), and both are associated with a variety of serious health problems, including heart disease and even infertility. To make matters worse, type 2 diabetes advances with complications more rapidly in children than in adults. Endocrinologists warn that a high-sugar diet raises the risk of type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance directly, by overworking the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin. According to the American Diabetes Association, by the year 2050, one in three people will have diabetes. In Australia, there are currently around 400 new cases of type 2 diabetes identified each year in the 10-24 year age range. So how can we make sure our children avoid this? Help your child to maintain a healthy, low- sugar diet and an active lifestyle. 2. Obesity. One in four Australian children aged 2–17 are overweight or obese. Between 1985 and 1995, the number of overweight or obese children doubled to 21%. By 2008, this increased to 25% and in the ABS Australian Health Survey (2011-2012), this rose even further to 26%. By 2025, an estimated one third of Australian 67 step 2: reduce sugar What’sin a name? Ingredients that contain sugar include: • agave • brown sugar • cane sugar • cassava syrup • coconut sugar • confectioners’ sugar • corn syrup • date sugar • demerara sugar • dextrose • disaccharides • erythritol (sugar alcohol) • evaporated cane juice • fructose • fruit concentrate • fruit extract • fruit pulp • galactose • glucose • golden syrup • granulated sugar • grape sugar • high-fructose corn syrup • high-maltose corn syrup • honey • invert sugar • lactose •lohan (monk fruit) • malt • maltodextrin • maltose • mannitol (sugar alcohol) • maple syrup • molasses • monosaccharides • muscovado sugar • palm sugar • panela • raw sugar • refined sugar • rice syrup • sorbitol (sugar alchohol) • sucrose • treacle • turbinado sugar • xylitol (sugar alcohol) • white sugar Consider this... Sugar alone doesn’t make kids overweight or obese. Children gain too much weight when they take in more calories than they burn. Sugary drinks and treats that go down very quickly supply calories above and beyond what kids need. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) drinking even one sugary drink a day, such as fruit juice, increases the risk of obesity in children.