The Sweet and Sour Facts About Sugar

Judging from food labels, a spoonful of sugar makes everything go down. You may wonder how it affects your child's health.

Although it's easy to blame sugar for tooth decay, hyperactivity or obesity, the sweetener isn't always the villain.

Children need some sugar

The sugar called glucose is the main fuel for brains. But that doesn't mean kids need to eat table sugar (sucrose).

Our bodies make produce glucose from any type of carbohydrate, including fruits, starches, and vegetables.

Sugar is not toxic

Sugar itself is not toxic but overuse can lead to health problems.

For example, sugary foods that stick to kids' teeth may cause cavities. So do bottles of sugar-water given to babies at naptime. Children who drink a few cups of sweetened fruit juice a day consume less milk or nutritious foods and have a less nutritious diet

Some parents insist their children are overactive after eating sweets, but there is no evidence that sugar causes hyperactivity.

Sugar alone can't cause obesity

It's hard to blame sugar for children's obesity. Overeating - any type of macronutrient (fat, protein, or carbohydrate) will lead to weight gain.

Banning sugar won't keep children at a healthy weight, And banning may drive the child to secretly binging on sugar. Instead, teach children to eat a limited amount of sugary foods and try to pick nutritious sugary foods when possible.

Secret sugars

Not all sugar is obvious:

Two tablespoons of barbecue sauce has 10 grams of sugar.

You'll find sugars labeled sucrose, fructose, lactose and maltose in foods. Sugars are also found in high concentrations in fruit juice concentrates, honey and molasses.

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