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The Sweet Truth About Sugar

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Reduce your children’s sugar intake!

Sugar is found in many packaged foods ranging from pop and fruit juice, to cereal and microwave chicken dinners. Too much sugar has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and an increased number of dental cavities. Taking steps towards becoming healthier by reducing your sugar consumption, is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Know your numbers

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children and adults consume no more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar. For the average child, this would be no more than 40 grams or 10 teaspoons.

2. Read labels

Find out what products sugar is hiding in. Sugar has many different names; barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose just to name a few. As a hint, ingredients ending in “ose” are likely sugar. Also, look under “Carbohydrates” to find the amount of sugar (in grams) in one serving of the food. One can of pop contains 40 grams of sugar. One juice box contains 20 grams of sugar. Many breakfast cereal marketed to children contain more than 10 grams per cup. These numbers can add up quickly.

3. Drink water

Water contains no calories, sugar, preservatives or colours. It benefits our bodies by keeping us energized and hydrated. Water makes up more than half of a child’s weight. They need a steady supply to keep their bodies working and growing properly.

Here’s a simple guide on how to make water the ‘new normal’ in your home:

  • Keep pitchers of water on the kitchen counter or in the fridge, so everyone can grab a drink throughout the day.
  • Put water on the table at mealtimes.
  • Fill re-usable bottles of water for the kids to take to school and sports activities.

Be your kids’ best role model. When being active, choose water instead of sports drinks. Your kids will be more likely to emulate your behaviour

Can you think of ways to reduce sugar in your life?

Sugary drinks, candy, baked goods, and sweetened dairy are too often served as an everyday choices instead of as a treat. Instead of reaching for 100% fruit juice, eat fruit to get the benefits of vitamins and fibre from it. Pre-packaged snacks are another common source of sugar. Take a look at where you can make healthy eating choices and be a positive role model for those around you.

For more information on ways to keep kids healthy, see this great article about the Healthy Kids Community Challenge provided by the City of Burlington!

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