Sugar has suddenly found itself in quite the unpleasant spot in the nutrition world. For many years, we were all pointing the finger at fat and were trying to cut that from our own diets as well as that of our children, our attention has now been turned to sugar. As it turns out, a certain amount of some fats is very good for us – essential, in fact.
When it comes to added sugar, that story is not the same. In fact, the more research the scientific and medical communities complete on the impact of sugar, the more it looks like we shouldn’t be eating it at all. That said, we do love it, and it’s in a huge number of foods, so in order to be realistic, the latest advice is simply to limit sugar intake. This goes for children as well as adults.
It may be tempting to simply allow kids to have as much sugar as they want, particularly over holidays and celebrations such as Halloween, Christmas and others in which sweets are central, after learning what eating too much sugar does to the body, it may not take long to realize that some restrictions may actually be for the better.
Nobody wants to have to tell a kid that they can’t have any more candy, but understanding the consequences of overeating sugar may make the choice an easier one. The following are some of the direct results children (and adults!) face if they eat too much sugar:
• Cavities – After having been told by your parents, grandparents, teachers and others that candy will rot your teeth, research has finally arrived to support the claim. Yes, eating too much sugar will place a child at a much higher risk of cavities.
• Obesity – Added sugars in foods are among the most damaging when it comes to their impact on weight gain. Obesity among children is on the rise and the presence of added sugar and unlimited access to candy is among the most commonly blamed culprits.
• Insulin resistance – When kids have too much access to sugar, they can easily develop insulin resistance, which leads to increased weight (particularly in the belly), brain fog, fatigue, increased blood pressure, and more hunger.
• Diabetes – The instance of diabetes has been rapidly rising in the United States and among the risk factors is a diet consistently high in added sugars. This type of eating habit typically begins early in life.
• Liver disease – Liver problems and even liver failure can occur from having to consistently process too much sugar. It leads to fatty liver disease which then progresses into a range of problems including the failure of the organ itself.
• Pancreatic cancer – The pancreas is the organ responsible for producing the insulin used to help cells to absorb sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream. Too much sugar intake increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
• Kidney disease – Studies have shown that regular soda consumption has been associated with kidney damage and disease. This risk requires as few as one to two sodas per day.