Over the years, excessive consumption of sugar has been linked to a variety of illnesses in children. While sugar is important for your child’s development, most kids consume more sugar than their daily needs, thus creating a habit of having an unhealthy diet from young which will likely stretch into their adulthood. The following are 10 reasons why sugar is bad for your child’s health.
According to the National Dentist Association, sugar is the number one cause of tooth-related issues such as tooth pain, tooth decay, bleeding gums, and weak teeth.
Even healthy foods such as milk and carbohydrate foods like bread contain sugars which support bacterial growth in the mouth. If this bacteria is not brushed, flossed or scraped away, it produces an acid that eats away at the tooth enamel. This will lead to tooth decay, bad breathe and gum disease.
As a parent, you should know that a small amount of sugar each day is normal, however, it should be from healthy foods such as fruits, dietary produce like milk or staple food like bread, rice, and noodles.
Added sugar on the other hand such as those found in soft drinks, cakes or sweets should contribute no greater than 10% of a person’s dietary energy needs daily.
Sugar Promotes Obesity
Obesity is a major health problem around the world, more so because children and youths today are forming the majority group with obesity and weight-related issues.
Sweet treats are high not only in sugar but also in fat. Excess sugar in the blood results in weight gain and deposit of fat in the body, leading to obesity.
Greater Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Excess intake of sugar results in an overload in the child’s ability to metabolize sugar. These excess sugars usually come in the form of soda, sweet cereals, sweets and sugar added into processed foods and drinks. The excess sugar causes deregulation of the body’s sugar feedback mechanism resulting in insulin resistance and eventually, type 2 Diabetes.
Studies have shown that consuming food high in sugar suppress the immune system. The suppressive effect starts within half an hour of consumption and lasts for at least 5 hours.
A weakened immune system means your child will find it difficult to combat, especially when they have yet to develop immunity against various diseases. Therefore, a child with a weak immune system brought on by consuming too much sugar has a higher chance of developing allergies from dust, pollen, furs from cats, dogs or other animals.
Children who love eating foods rich in sugar are likely to load up on too much sugar which can cause poor appetite. In addition, a diet that constitutes a large amount of sugars is deficient in a variety of other needed nutrients such as iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, fiber, proteins and vitamins.
Majority of children who consume too much sugar from treats such as soda, candy, pasta, hotdogs, and cookies result in PH imbalance in the body. Foods such as candy and soda which are rich in sugar cause the body to become too acidic. This leads to diseases and conditions such as arthritis and gastric reflux/heartburn. Furthermore, children who have a habit of drinking excessive chocolate milk have a higher chance of suffering from Acid Reflux. This is because dairy and sugar takes longer time duration to digest in children and is highly acidic.
Excessive consumption of foods and drinks creates an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria/microorganism. While good bacteria protects the body from infections, harmful bad bacterias multiply quickly in this, as excess sugar helps them to thrive. Overall, this leads to a weakened immune system, which will increase the chances of your child getting infections.
When food enters the body, it is first converted to glucose. Therefore when your child overeats, the body will have an excess amount of glucose. The excess glucose is then converted to fats which are stored in the body as energy reserves.
This fat may accumulate around blood vessels, causing the heart to work harder in order to pump nutrients and oxygen around the body. Over time, this may result in a heart attack.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
Studies have proved that children who consume excess sugar have higher chances of suffering from ADD/ADHD
Sugar in foods is easily converted into glucose which is used by the various organs such as the brain to function efficiently. In large amounts, sugar results in malfunction of the brain neurons, resulting in frequent disruptive behavior.
Increases Acne And Aging
Sugar has been linked to acne and faster aging in children. This is because excess sugar results in a sudden increase in blood glucose levels. The sugar molecules then attach to the collagen in the skin, a process called glycation, causing inflammation throughout the body. The inflammation leads to or worsens acne
When the glucose attaches to collagen, it also makes that part of the skin dry, stiff and inflexible causing the skin to age at a faster rate.
High blood sugar levels result in swelling of the eye lens causing blurry visions. When the sugar levels in the blood are not regulated, they eventually result in leaks in the eye lens and retina, which may lead to partial blindness.
May Cause Appendicitis
Research has shown that children who are 2 years old or younger have higher chances of getting a ruptured appendix in cases where the child consumes excess sugar.
Affects The Liver
Excess glucose in the body is turned into glycogen and stored in the liver. However, when the liver is full, the rest of the fructose is turned to fat. While most of the fat is transported to other parts of the body, some of it remains in the liver where it eventually builds up resulting in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
As a parent, it is difficult to control the type of food that your child eats whether it’s at home, school or in a friend’s house. However, it is also your duty as a parent to make sure that a larger percentage of the food they eat contains good sugar which is found in foods such as sweet potatoes. That way you will be helping your kid build a better immune system which will protect him or her against various opportunistic diseases.