According to Consumer Reports, some breakfast cereals contain more than 50% sugar. “Americans are consuming about 15% more added sugars than they did 25 years ago, and over that time the percentage of overweight or obese adults has grown from 47% to 66%. During roughly the same time the number of overweight children in the U.S. has doubled.”
So, how bad is sugar for our kids?
Still, it makes sense to limit intake of simple carbs as much as possible while encouraging consumption of complex carbs. Children should never be placed on a low-carb diet (I doubt if adults should but this is beyond the scope of this blog). Children should eat plenty of whole grain breads, pastas and cereals, a variety of fruit and vegetables including potatoes and corn, beans, and brown rice (we have a strong preference for white rice in our house so that’s what we eat.)
Simple carbs, especially processed foods that contain added sugar such as cake, candy and soft drinks have little nutritional value and are not satisfying, which could lead to over-eating and unnecessary weight gain. Of course, they are also bad for teeth.
Being reasonable is important. Allowing a small treat once a day while keeping sugar levels down in other foods works well for us. In addition, as bad as sugar is for kids’ health, we all need to be aware that today there are far worse things to worry about in processed foods, namely High Fructose Corn Syrup. More on that in my next article.
Photo credit: Gaetan Lee
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