Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: New Sugar Recommendations for Children and Teens

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." 
                                                                                                                                            --Buddhist proverb

Image result for high fructose corn syrup

If you subscribe to Wellness Wednesdays, then you know that our primary theme is educating parents and kids about the vital importance of reducing and eliminating the consumption of added sugars. Added sugars come in all shapes, sizes, and names.  Best known is high fructose corn syrup, or what I refer to as “the evil empire sugar”.  Added sugars are commonly found in foods and drinks such as ketchup, barbeque sauce, sodas, bread, chips, cookies, fruit drinks, and energy drinks. 

American Heart Association has just issued new guidelines for children and teens recommending that added sugars be limited to no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) a day. 

What does this mean for parents?  Time to become a sugar detective!  Take my Sugar Challenge:  for the next 3 days, read all food labels to identify the grams of sugars your kids are consuming.  Start educating yourself, if you are not already doing so, about how much sugar is in processed food.  Be aware of foods you buy at the grocery and also the foods and drinks in restaurants.  Do your kids drink mostly water and milk (great choices) or do they routinely drink fruit juice and sodas?  An 8 ounce glass of fruit juice has AS MUCH SUGAR as 8 ounces of soda. When you keep this food diary, you will see how quickly 24 grams can be consumed. 

It is important for parents to remember that there are natural sugars (found in fruit and corn) and added sugars.  Both contribute to obesity and diabetes if we consume too much.  While watching intake of added sugars is very important, it is equally important to be aware of the total sugars consumed. For more information about the new guidelines about kids and added sugars, go to or click here.

In gratitude,

Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids