When it comes to food, the first six months of your child’s life are a blessing, since they still don’t eat solid food during that period.
After that, there is more room for mistakes since the development of healthy eating habits depends on your decisions.
This article is a reminder of why you should try avoiding added sugar. Also, you’ll see why you can start giving it to your toddlers after they reach the age of two.
The Negative Effects Of Added Sugar
Before long, people bought into the story that fat, and not carbohydrates, harm our well-being. The story has changed and nowadays the real enemy is sugar.
It’s almost yesterday’s news that added sugar puts people’s health in jeopardy.
For starters, the sweet tooth is bad for teeth. Unfortunately, it’s not just teeth that are at risk.
Sugar can be detrimental to general health, ranging from obesity, high blood pressure, immunity issues, cavities to anxiety and depression.
So, how do we put the situation under control when our kids (babies and toddlers equally) are given added sugar daily? Let’s see why it is on the blacklist:
Too Much Sugar Means Too Little “Real” Food
Have you caught yourself telling people that your kid “doesn’t eat at all”? This happens quite often for two reasons.
First, we observe kids’ meals in comparison with our intake of food.
Second, kids eat too much (hidden) sugar. So, parents need to be extremely cautious of giving them juice and soda, as well as various sauces and yogurts. They are loaded with empty calories that just make them full without providing them with enough useful nutrients.
It’s very difficult to balance your children’s diet if you offer them sugar early on in their lives. Exposure is the first step to forming healthy or unhealthy eating habits. This usually means that kids are more likely to choose the sweet taste of sweets over the bleak taste of veggies.
Sweetened Food And Health Issues
The excessive intake of candies can lead to having no teeth at all. A whole string of early pearly whites can go dark and eventually rotten, which gives way to real dental trouble in adulthood; let alone heart issuescaused by decayed teeth.
High Sugar Level Equals High Anxiety
Another disturbing fact is that added sugar might cause anxiety, leading to undesired behavior, hyperactivity, and general restlessness. As the research shows, there is a toxic relationship between certain foods and psychological issues. Also, children tend to lose focus more quickly when “high” on sugar.
All this can be alleviated by removing added sugar from your kid’s diet, especially before the age of two.
Exposure To Sugar Out Of Your Sight
Yet, there is a lingering question: do we have to ban it – and how to do it, sinceit’s everywhere – or do we have to teach our kids from early days what wholesome food looks and tastes like.
Let’s face it, we cannot control kids once they get out of our sight. There are many situations in which they will be exposed to sugar. For instance,at birthday parties or family gatherings, in the kindergarten, in school, during playdates, or when there are older kids around.
Also, they might eat sweets when they are with their nannies or grandparents. That’s why it’s important to explain everyone who spends time with your kids what’s acceptable diet.For instance, professional nannies at a renowned British / UK governess agency follow strict nutrition rules in their work with children.
So, parents should think about making a set of rules regarding this topic and give it to everybody who looks after their kids.
Avoiding Sugar Before The Age Of Two
It’s important to know why it is critical not to give sugar before a child turns two. According to dietitian Renae D’Andrea, there are several reasons:
First, their stomach is way too small. If they start eating sweets,how much more is left for other rich food? Instead of taking in healthy, nutritive meals, they will lose appetite because of sugar they eat.
Second, they have an innate taste for sweet (breast milk, amniotic fluid, formula) and they will be more inclined to that type. Back to point one.
After all, they are too small to know they are missing out on anything. If they haven’t tasted any chocolate, chances are they would just play with the package and throw it around. It’s an experiment worth trying!
As the nutritionist suggests, it is advisable to expose them to sugar after the age of two. If you don’t do that, they will start obsessing about it as soon as they start eating it, and that’s another set of problems lurking around the corner.
Just like most other things in life, acquiring healthy eating habits are formed in childhood.
Anxiety, depression, obesity, cavities, high cholesterol, and heart diseases resulting from rich food are far from trivial problems, especially because sugar is hidden in many products (read the labels!)
A small amount of sugar won’t do any damage but bear in mind that it’s addictive. Control the sugar intake while you have a chance to do it.
On the other hand, being too cautious and not giving your child any sugar, especially after the second birthday is also a bad idea. There’s a certain risk that they might develop a strong affection for sugar and sweets once they start encountering candies and cakes.
To cut a long story short, try and figure out how to incorporate sugar in the everyday menu but do it moderately. All these steps will help you introduce food with added sugar to your babies and toddlers.
AuthorBio: Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londongoverness.com. She recruits nannies, governesses and other childcare professionals, ensuring top-notch services for parents worldwide. In her free time she likes reading about education, and children’s welfare, as well as visiting sports events.