The problems with Sugar
Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are the top two preventable health risks our children face today. The United States is leading this epidemic by remaining the most obese country in the world. And where the rates of obesity appear to be reaching a plateau among adults at around 35%, the rate for kids is still climbing.
As a nation, we are more sedentary than ever and are maladapted to handle the sheer amount of processed foods commonly eaten. More than 2/3 of the sugar in America's diet comes from processed foods and most fast food and beverage companies strategically target children. There are individual differences, but as a group, in every culture that has been studied around the world, children prefer more intense sweetness than adults. Beyond the basic biology, there are three other aspects of sugar that seem to make it attractive to children. One, the sweet taste is their signal for foods that are rich in energy, and since kids are growing so fast, their bodies crave foods that provide quick fuel. Two, as humans, we didn't evolve in an environment that had lots of intensely sweet foods, which probably heightens the excitement we feel when we eat sugar. And three, sugar makes children feel good. It's an analgesic.
This very topic gets me fired up because, as a society, we are not setting our children up for a healthy adulthood. This is the first generation of children who are NOT expected to outlive their parents. With all that we know, and all of our medical advances, this is unacceptable. Education is critical, and awareness is key. One cannot out exercise a bad diet, so although exercise is absolutely needed, preventing health issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes has to start with food.
Are there any benefits of added sugar for kids? The short answer is NO, but read more about why HERE