Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Are Your Kids Addicted to Sugar?

"It's no coincidence that four of the six letters in health are "heal".  --Ed Northstrum

I was talking to a man the other day about getting his diabetes under control after he got “the talk” from his doctor.  He told me what he used to eat:   a banana and a honeybun for breakfast, sweet tea all day, and, well, you get the picture. He said, “I think I am addicted to sugar.”  Then there was the young mother I just met who has been recruited for a new Growing Healthy Kids initiative to educate mothers. She told me her 2 year old daughter eats candy for breakfast.  After we spent 3 hours together talking about diabetes and what our kids eat, she decided to make some changes now.  

Americans ARE addicted to sugar.  Sugar ranks up at the top in terms of food addictions, right up there with foods loaded with fats and salt.  It’s one thing to have a “sweet tooth” and to have dessert after every dinner.  It’s another thing to drink 5 or 6 glasses of sweet tea a day, hide cookies in your bedroom or ALWAYS have seconds (or thirds) of cake.
Image result for picture of cakes and pies

Most people eat too much sugar. It is hidden in processed foods.  In fact, food companies pay scientists lots of money to find ways to make food addictive so we will overeat. 

How much sugar is too much?  Here are the guidelines for the daily maximum sugar intake (source: American Heart Association):

Kids (preschool and early elementary)                      12.5 grams
Tweens and teens                                                       21-33 grams
Women                                                                       25 grams
Men                                                                             37 grams

Use these guidelines when buying food in boxes, cans, or packages.  Look at how many grams of sugar are in a serving, look at the serving size, then determine how many serving your kids eat.  DID YOU KNOW...Most serving sizes are by design INTENTIONALLY SMALLER than what people really eat.  By incorporating this tip into your food shopping, you will raise your awareness of how much sugar is in what you are eating. 

One of the most addictive sugars is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP;  this is the most important sugar to eliminate from your kids’ foods.  The fact is that eating too much sugar is linked to problems such as obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity disorder, and lack of focus.  Buy foods with less sugar, not more.  When you start replacing high sugar foods with fabulous fiber foods, you start shifting to better health.  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

PS - If you have a question you would like me to answer on "Pop Up Health", the fun weekly radio show I do with Chef Michael Glatz, send an email to  Listen on on Tuesdays and Sundays 3-4 pm (eastern); search for WAXE 107.9 FM/1370 AM.