Sugar and its influence on children
The question if sugar causes hyperactivity among children is probably one of the biggest mysteries these days.
Hand on heart: who grew up with the belief it is true that sugar causes hyperactivity and forbids nowadays the own children to consume sugar?
First of all – sugar does not cause hyperactivity. This is proven by several representative studies.
But how we account then the meltdown of our sweetheart after the birthday party with all the sweet things?
In 1995, William Tamborlane, M.D., et al, of Yale University report a more pronounced response to a glucose load in children than in adults. It is widely known that as blood glucose levels fall, our body releases adrenaline to act against the decrease. The resulting situation is called hypoglycaemia. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia include shakiness, altered thinking and behaviour, and sweating.
Why was this so surprising?
Tamborlane and his colleagues demonstrated, that all of this occurs on a higher glucose level than it does in adults. This was the reason, why nobody actually noticed the hypoglycaemia so far!
Natural and refined sugar
The problem is not sugar itself but refined and carbohydrates which enter the bloodstream very quickly and produce more rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels.
Our family habits
Our habits ore the problem. Today, many children get too much sugar, too often! Further, these sugar-rich foods tend to be full of empty calories and often displace the nutritious foods children really need! By the end of the day, children are consuming ca. three times more sugar than their recommended daily allowance of sugar, according to information gathered from statistical data.
As studies show, most of the sugar children consume before having even their first classes. Due to this fact, the concentration level of many children has to fall force follow! So it is crucial for children (and also adults!) to have a healthy breakfast like lean chicken or eggs and healthy fats as nuts, seeds and avocado! Additionally, whole-grain, brown rice and vegetables do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar like refined sugars found in cookies and white breads.
So, this means sugar isn’t bad for my child?
Yes, and no! Sugar can cause several serious illnesses and problems such as
- Tooth decay
When the sugar remains in the child’s mouth for 20 minutes or longer the bacteria uses these sugars as food to produce acid that attacks the teeth. Over time, the teeth will start to decay. This also occurs in older children who regularly consume refined sugars.
- Childhood Obesity
Refined sugars in children’s diets are a leading reason of early childhood obesity. And Obesity in childhood has serious consequences as an increased risk for developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, asthma and sleep apnoea.
But sugar is not only bad. A recent study found that adding around one teaspoon of sugar to a serving of whole-grain breakfast cereal – such as oatmeal, wheat bran or muesli – made a tremendous difference in whether kids liked it, but it had no significant effect on their blood-sugar levels!
In fact, in a small amount, sugar can even encourages nutritious eating. “When I was little, I learned to love grapefruit if it had a little sugar on it,” says registered dietitian Valerie Duffy, Ph.D., of the University of Connecticut.
We need to be aware of the serious consequences of sugar to our children’s life! But the biggest challenge is not to forbid sugary drinks or cookies, it is to realize where we consume unknown sugar! There are more products with added, refined sugar than we even can think of.
We wish you a happy day
Ben & Emma