10 Ways Sugar is Hurting Your Children

10 Ways Sugar is Hurting Your Children

Sugar is everywhere and it is hard for adults, let alone children to stay away from sugar.

The average child eats 32 teaspoons of sugar a day!  

Children should have no more than 3-6 teaspoons of sugar a day and none if they are are under two according to the American Heart Association, but look at how much sugar is in these drinks aimed at kids!  You can visit our Sugar and Kids Pinterest Board here to see useful charts on how much sugar is in various products and get more information on sugar and kids. 


Here are 10 Ways Sugar is Hurting Your Kids:

  1. Sugar messes with brain growth. One study found that sugar (just like exposure to early life stress) can reduce brain development and growth of critical brain growth genes in early life.
  2. Sugar makes kids sad. Sugar in very large amounts can make kids’ moods unstable and can lead to depression and anxiety. Source.
  3. Sugar makes kids forgetful. Sugar (again in large amounts) can stop kids’ brains from organizing and storing memories. Source.
  4. Sugar makes kids disconnected. The processes involved in connecting senses and emotions are also disrupted by large sugar amounts. Source.
  5. Sugar is also addictive, and some say 8x as addictive as cocaine. Source.
  6. Sugar is making our kids sick. According to the Liver Foundation, six million children—up to 10 percent of all children in the nation—have NAFLD, the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is a disease that years ago was only attributed to adults and before NAFLD, just to alcoholics! Crazy scary.
  7. Sugar is making our kids fat. This is especially true with sugary drinks that are even harder on kids bodies than their eaten counterparts. Source.
  8. Sugar is depriving our kids of healthy foods. By competing for room in their small tummies, sugar is winning and replacing healthy foods likes fruits and vegetables. Source.
  9. Sugar depresses kids immune systems. Going back to #8, because kids are not eating the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables, they are not getting the immune boost from these healthy foods and are instead eating calories devoid of nutrients that do nothing for promoting health. Source.
  10. Sugar gives our kids cavities.  Again, be especially mindful of juices, sodas and all other sugary drinks. They prolong exposure of the teeth to sugar and that is a recipe for disaster… and tooth decay. Source.

So what can we do? 

  1. Make sure your kids are not getting sugar before age two. (It’s not too late to stop if you already are!)
  2. Follow the American Heart Association Guidelines of 3 – 6 teaspoons. 3 teaspoons if you kids are on the young side.
  3. Explain to the adults your kid comes into contact with your concerns about sugar. Show them this article if you like, and have them do the 10 Day Stop Our Sugar Challenge with you!
  4. Set a GOOD EXAMPLE yourself.
  5. Get the sugar out of your kids’ reach.

This really is one area of life where we all need to work together as a “village” to help raise our children with a healthy respect for sugar’s VERY SMALL part in our well rounded diets.

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