Over the last 50 years, sugar has become a staple in the American diet and can be found virtually anywhere. In fact, it is often hiding where you would least expect it. Sugar is no longer found only in sweet treats, but in many of the basic meals we eat on a daily basis. In saying this, it isn’t surprising that many adults and children are consuming more sugar than our bodies can process. Growing up in a very health conscious family, the notion that sugar is addictive and unhealthy has always been stressed in my household. While some kids would flaunt their candy bar at lunch, I was left eating an apple. At a young age, I was resentful of the lack of sugar in our cabinets. However, as I’ve grown older I have realized that my parents did me a huge favor. With childhood obesity on the rise, the health of young children is at stake. Sugar, which also goes by names like fructose, glucose and corn syrup, is now found in 74 percent of packaged foods in our supermarkets (Gregoire). To some parents, sugar may seem ultimately unavoidable. Not to mention that many parents themselves battle with sugar addiction. However, parents need to be aware of the risks that high-sugar diets pose to their children’s physical health, brain functioning and mental well-being.
While sugar is nothing to be concerned about in small amounts, most children are eating far too much of it. The World Health Organization states that children should be consuming no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. However, the American Heart Association reports children consuming an average of 22 teaspoons per day, 16 teaspoons over the suggested daily allowance. Natasha Janicic-Kahric, an associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, told The Washington...
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..., phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals but does not count towards your daily allowance of sugar. In addition, fruit is an excellent source of fiber. The presence of fiber in fruit determines what happens to fruit sugars in your body and how quickly they are broken down in your gastrointestinal tract. Unlike refined sugar, fiber in fruit expands in your gut, making you feel full. According to the USDA, the nutrients in fruit can help reduce the risks of heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other diseases (Grover). Similarly, natural sugar found in vegetables such as carrots and squashes helps combat disease and provides important nutrients. Even plants like cabbage, beets and potatoes possess some of these qualities. Giving your kids a diet high in fruits and vegetables is the best way to jumpstart the battle against refined sugars.
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