Your kids are probably eating quite a bit more sugar than you realize. The average American consumed about 125 pounds of added sugar in 1980, 160 pounds in 1999, and 165 pounds in 2002! Food producers have become much more sophisticated when it comes to hiding more sugar in your kids' foods. Even if you don't think of your family as having a sweet tooth, they are taking in hidden sugars in everything from ketchup to healthy foods such as yogurt.
Why are companies doing this? First of all, food producers sneak in some insulin-spiking hidden sugars in an attempt to increase the flavor in foods that have been reduced in salt and fat. Secondly, and more obviously, they know that kids love to eat sweet things.
Some nutritionists separate sugars into two categories: the high-glycemic-response sugars and the low-glycemic-response sugars. It is the high-glycemic sugars that you should moderate. These include sucrose, glucose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, maltodextrin, galactose, corn syrup, dextrin, beet sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, concentrated fruit juice, syrup, sorghum, honey, maple syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup. Foods like ketchup, jams, jellies, soft drinks, fruit juice, canned fruit, ice cream, pastries, and candies can also be packed with starches that turn into high-glycemic sugars.
Obviously, it's going to be hard to cut out high-glycemic sugars altogether, but there are a couple of easy steps you can take to dramatically reduce your child's sugar intake:
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- Finally, when buying fruit juice, stay away from those labeled "from concentrate" and buy "100% fruit juice" instead, then dilute it with water. Don't be tricked by drinks that have terms like "100% natural" or some similar slogan that is 100% nonsense.
From Raising Healthy Eaters: 100 Tips for Parents by Henry Legere, M.D. Copyright © 2004. Used by arrangement with The Perseus Books Group.
To order this book visit perseusbooksgroup.com.