Expert / 27 December, 2018 / Gabriela Peacock
Nutritionist Gabriela Peacock gives us the low-down on children and sugar, with some top tips for making the right choices.
Sugar: tasty, sweet and scrumptious. Many of us can admit to having a sweet tooth and are guilty of consuming more than what is recommended as part of a “healthy balanced diet”, but how much sugar should our children be having and what should we look out for?
There are two types of sugars that occur in foods: natural and un-natural/added. Sugars occur naturally in fruit and milk. Natural sugars found in milk are called lactose and those in fresh fruits are called fructose. The sugars found in fruit juice and in cakes, biscuits, sweets, squash and soft drinks are the un-natural ones.
It is recommended that children do not have too much added sugar (or products containing sugar):
– Preschool children should not consume more than 4 teaspoons of added sugar per day
– Children aged 4-8 years should not consume more than 3 teaspoons of added sugar per day
– Pre-teen and teenagers should have no more than 5-8 teaspoons per day
Processed foods and refined carbohydrates are often stacked full of added sugars. Look out for:
Careful… They are also added to processed foods as a flavour enhancer, to preserve, as a balancing agent and as a bulking agent.
Excess sugar consumption is linked to tooth decay. This occurs as a result of sugar providing a food source for oral bacteria, which in turn proliferate and cause dental cavities. But aside from the bad teeth, excessive consumption of the sweet stuff has been linked to:
Contrary to popular belief, there is no form of healthier added sugar. Honey, molasses, agave syrup/nectar, cane juice and natural fruit sugars have no nutritional advantage over the white stuff.
Over 15g of total sugars per 100g = HIGH
Bake homemade cakes and snacks for your kids so you can monitor their sugar intake. Opt for natural yoghurt with added fruit/berries. Use fruits such as bananas, apples and dates as alternative sources of sugar.