In reply to the question on when to introduce sugar foods to kids, Dr Geoffrey Phillip a child specialist says “there is no specific age when children should consciously be introduced to sugar. Children consume sugar almost from the instant they begin to eat solid food. These sugars are present in most baby foods including milk and fruit”.
Super fast metabolism should cause no worry
Clarifying further on the topic of when to introduce sugar foods to kids, Dr Geoffrey Phillip goes on to say that so long as children are very active, parents need not to worry about the occasional candy or high sugar food. Children have a super fast metabolism and therefore have an enormous capacity to digest and utilize energy released from high sugar foods. The only condition is that they must be active and must brush their teeth thrice daily.
Dr Phillip hastens to add that this does not mean that parents can feed their children enormous quantities of high sugar foods – far from it. He only says that the occasional candy should not cause any worry.
Eating habits developed during childhood are carried on to adulthood.
The flavors we introduce to our kids during childhood are more likely to become their food preference as adults. It is therefore important to make sure that we introduce healthy eating for kids at a young age. Of course, given the number of ice cream parlors and candy stores on every street, maintaining a healthy eating pattern for children can be quite a challenge.
We all know that high sugar foods are a major cause for various diseases along with increased risks for obesity and heart disease. As far as children are concerned, the first direct effect of eating foods with high sugar content is dental cavities. For non-active children weight gain is a major risk and since sweets are nothing but empty calories, too much sugar also makes the kids lethargic.
Sweets and high sugar foods like candy, juices, pastries and cookies sideline healthy foods that are a must for growing children. It is essential to inculcate healthy eating habits by ensuring that your child gets a balanced diet. A balanced diet consists of foods from all the food groups – vegetables, fruit, whole grains, meat, and dairy products. Moderation is the key when it comes to giving sweet treats to your child.
Processed sugar is as addictive as any drug, so the more sugar we eat, the more we crave for it.
Children who have not been pampered with candies, pastries and ice creams will not crave for it, but those who have will miss it and crave for it. It may also lead to food cravings in future.
Healthy eating for kids does not mean a complete ban on high sugar foods. If kids don’t get the sweet treats from you, they will get them from elsewhere and your whole exercise will more likely backfire. While it is unrealistic to prohibit our kids from consuming high sugar foods, we can make the effort to reduce sugar overload by giving them wholesome food before the sweet treat. Also ensure that your children are always active.
Read more about family health and roots of why children become obese.