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Your Kids and Sugar

A combination of outside sources and biology is responsible for many children believing dessert is the most essential thing on the earth. According to experts, breast milk and amniotic fluid are both sweet; therefore, from the get-go, babies are conditioned to enjoy the taste. Studies have also found that sugar actually acts as pain relief in a small child and baby, although not in adults, as such, sweet treats can literally make them feel better after getting hurt.

Besides the internal cues that cause kids to crave sweets, there is our national candy obsession, commercials, and cake being presented as the zenith of every party to elevate sugar's cred above everything else for small children.

Parents bring their own feelings regarding treats to the table as well. Many adults have anxieties concerning desserts, and children can pick up on that from quite an early age.

There are different types of sugar and some are harder to detect. Natural sugars like fructose, found in fruit and lactose, the main sugar in dairy and breast milk, are a healthy component of a kid's diet. Additional sugars are added during food processing, and these are the varieties linked with diabetes, tooth decay, and obesity.

Added sugar should ideally constitute 10 percent or less of your kid's diet. This works out to roughly 55 grams or 220 calories of added sugar for the average 12-year-old or 35 grams or 140 calories for a preschooler. It should be noted that added sugar can also be found in foods like yogurt, pasta sauce, juice, oatmeal and cereal, not just desserts.

Experts believe that if you are teaching your kids safe balance, and not limiting sweets to the level where your children lose control when they have them, a few donuts with Grandma or attending a sugar-fueled party is nothing to be worried about. Just watching the amount they consume the majority of the time can help quell the craving and minimize arguments.


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