Ice cream, cakes, cookies basically any sugary stuff are typical treats in our kids’ diets. It’s no surprise that too much sugar can cause tooth decay, hyperactivity and increase the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Yet parents have no idea that all that sugar can also cause other chronic— albeit avoidable —health problems like;
Cold, cough and allergies
One of the most common effects sugar can have on children are cold-like symptoms like when kids complain of chronic runny noses, excessive mucus, cough and symptoms of sinus infections. Some kids are even diagnosed with allergies, without having any formal testing. They’re prescribed medication but their symptoms may actually be due to too much sugar. If we get rid of the symptoms, kids won’t need the medicine.
Some children even have recurrent episodes of what looks like acid reflux. These children go to bed seemingly healthy, but wake up during the night with a barking cough and trouble breathing. Most of these children had a habit of drinking chocolate milk throughout the day. The combination of dairy and sugar takes longer to digest and is highly acidic. This means that food comes back up through the esophagus, touches the vocal cords and causes a laryngospasm. Often times, kids diagnosed with acid reflux are given over-the-counter medications that block the natural stomach secretion of acid and mask symptoms.
The body’s microbiome is made up of trillions of good bacteria that digest food, produce vitamins and protect it from germs and disease. But when kids consume too much sugar, it can alter the balance between good and bad bacteria and weaken their immune systems. Although your children may still get frequent colds, their symptoms may be reduced if their sugar intake is reduced as well.
Children who snub fruits, vegetables and other healthy fare may not be picky eaters after all. They might just be loading up on too much sugar which can cause stomachaches and poor appetite.
Reducing the amount of sugar your child consumes is a good idea, whether he has symptoms or not. Here are some simple changes you can make.
- Swap sugar.
Instead of ice cream, plain yogurt and fresh fruits are better options
- Nix the juice.
Even if the juice box says “100 percent juice,” “organic” or “no sugar added,” it doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
- Cut down on other liquid sugar. too.
Soft drinks are obvious ones, but sugar can also show up in orange juice, sports drinks and smoothies. Even if your child plays sports, water should be enough to rehydrate.
- Be careful about healthy alternatives.
You might think honey and agave are better choices but just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s healthier.
- Take it slow.
Your kids might not take well to drastic changes in their diets, but if you make it gradual, they’ll eventually come around. Mix a low-sugar cereal with their favorite one until they get used to it.
It’s important that your kids love how healthy food tastes rather than forcing them to eat it.