New Reasons to Cut Sugar from Your Child's Diet
Most parents understand that excessive sugar can have a negative impact on their children's health. According to new research, however, even so-called reasonable amounts of sugar could cause health problems, especially for kids who are overweight. If your pantry is chock full of sweet treats, learn the troubling effects of sugar on children.
Sugar's Significant Impact
According to a study out of UC San Francisco and Touro University California, reduced sugar intake has the power to reverse chronic metabolic diseases in children, even without weight loss or an overall reduction in calorie consumption. What's more, the research indicates the improvements in overall health begin to manifest in as little as ten days.
To reach their findings, researchers recruited obese children between the ages of 8 and 18, each of whom suffered from at least one chronic metabolic problem, such as insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol levels or high blood pressure. Each subject was restricted to a kid-friendly, low-sugar menu for nine days. The foods were all purchased from a local grocer and included foods such as pizza, hot dogs, potato chips, cereal, bagels and pasta; however, the menu did not include foods with added sugar, including pastries, high-sugar cereals and sweetened yogurt.
Ultimately, although the kids consumed the same amount of carbohydrates, their dietary sugar intake went from about 28 percent to 10 percent. After only nine days, virtually every aspect of the children's metabolic health improved, even without a substantial change in weight:
- LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides decreased
- Insulin levels were cut by a third
- Fasting blood glucose decreased by 5 points
- Blood pressure moved closer to normal
According to the researchers, their study indicates that reducing sugar intake can reverse metabolic dysfunction, even with no change in weight or calorie intake.
A Calorie is not a Calorie
When it comes to regulating weight and overall health, many people believe that all calories are the same. As this recent study demonstrates, however, sugar impacts the body's metabolism in different ways, leading to a range of negative health issues that can begin at a very young age.
If you have children, try to reduce their sugar intake by replacing processed foods with sweet-tasting fruits. As the UC San Francisco and Touro University California demonstrated, you don't necessarily have to eliminate pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and other junk foods from your kids' diets. That said, you can promote better health by limiting these foods and by drastically reducing the amount of sugar your kids eat.