28 May How to Reduce children’s Sugar Cravings
The amount of sugar consumed by children is at it’s highest levels in history. This can mostly be attributed to the enormous increase in processed food and sugary drinks lining the supermarket shelves. Sugar is included as an ingredient in most pre-packaged, processed and junk food and drinks and it’s insidious. As a result, as our children’s sugar consumption has increased, so has their rates of common childhood illness, including obesity with 1 in 4 children now classified as overweight or obese.
If you notice that your child’s temperament changes throughout the day, beginning with their adorable ‘normal’ behaviour which can change in a heartbeat to hyperactive, obnoxiousness or hysterical sobbing. The amount of hidden sugar they are consuming may be the cause. For example, a popular breakfast cereal plus a glass of store bought fruit juice could contain as much as 15 teaspoons of sugar, and that’s just for breakfast!
The Ups and Downs of sugar
When sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream they produce an unnaturally rapid increase in blood sugar levels. High levels of sugar are extremely harmful and the body goes to great lengths to keep blood sugar within a normal range. In response to the sugar crisis a hormone called insulin is released into the bloodstream to mop up and remove the excessive amounts of sugar. The end result is insulin is very effective at removing sugar which results in low blood sugar levels and an energy slump, a condition called hypoglycemia. At this stage your child will be feeling unwell, tired, grizzly, crying or throwing a tantrum and they will need to quickly normalise their blood sugar levels which means they have another sugar craving.
In response to their demands and often unwittingly, another 10 to 15 teaspoons of sugar can be reintroduced back into their blood stream. For example, a small box (30gm) of sultana’s has 7 teaspoons of sugar, plus a little tetra pack of organic apple juice could add another 5 teaspoons! And as the sugar roller coaster continues, it’s very damaging to all aspects of your child’s health.
Increase protein to help reduce children’s sugar cravings
There is no doubt that sugar is highly addictive, some studies suggest more so than cocaine. One of the easiest ways to reduce cravings for highly processed sugary snacks is to increase your child’s protein portion at meal times starting with breakfast. Protein food includes meat, chicken, turkey, legumes, tofu, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. These foods don’t contain sugar and they take longer to digest which means they stay in your child’s tummy for longer.
How much protein does your child need?
A good rule of thumb to work out exactly how much protein each member of the family requires is the Hand Method. Use your child’s hand as a measuring tool because it’s in proportion to their body size. The guideline is the thickness and size of the palm of their hand, minus fingers for main meals. Feed them this much protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
FIONA STOCK | THE CHILDREN’S NATUROPATH
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