With Halloween fast approaching, along with other holidays and birthday parties, your child will have a lot of exposure to sugary treats. You want your child to have a good time, and you probably think that candies are just part of it. But you may not realize just how much sugar is hiding in candy.
What’s more, all this sugar makes candy dangerous for their health and wellbeing – mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s hard to believe that candy danger is a threat to your child, but these tantalizing treats are best left on the store shelves. Here’s why.
1. Colors and Dyes Interfere with Behavior
A 2007 study, conducted by the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom, found that children who consumed dyed foods could experience an increase in hyperactive behavior. The drink used in the study contained the following dyes, and it was seen to have a strong impact on the children’s behavior. So, these are dyes you might consider avoiding, too:
- Sunset yellow (E110)
- Carmoisine (E122)
- Tartrazine (E102)
- Ponceau 4R (E124)
This 1994 study concluded that tartrazine is responsible for increasing irritability, restlessness and sleep disturbance for some children. If you’re not sure what tartrazine is, it’s a dye developed from petroleum byproducts.
Finally, the European Union now requires that foods containing food dyes come with a warning label, and they’ve even banned certain dyes that are widely used throughout the United States. Does your child frequently consume dyed candies?
2. Sugar Increases Inflammation Throughout the Body
Dr. Julie L. Wei, a pediatric otolaryngologist, says that sugar can leave children with symptoms similar to the common cold, like “runny noses, excessive mucus, cough and symptoms of sinus infections.” Dr. Wei has even noted that children are often mis-diagnosed as having allergies, croup cough and acid reflux.
Then, they are given medications to treat the wrong diagnoses. Instead, the real solution is to cut back on the added sugar in their diet.
3. Dental Health is Compromised
Your child may love the sugary taste of candies. But she’s not the only one who likes sugar. Did you know that the bacteria that leads to dental cavities likes to eat sugar, too? Therefore, your child is more likely to develop cavities if they’re diet is full of candy. According to Evolving Wellness, sugar also contributes to gingivitis and tooth loss.
4. Sugars Can Weaken Your Child’s Immunity
You are what you eat, and sugar doesn’t really make you strong and resilient. In fact, just the opposite is true.
An unbalanced, unhealthy diet, full of added, processed sugar and candy can weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for your child to fight virus’s, seasonal flus, common colds and more. In short, allowing your child to consume high amounts of sugar isn’t setting them up for success. Instead, it puts them at a health disadvantage.
5. Candies are High in Empty Calories
We all know that candies aren’t a very nutrient-dense food. In fact, snacks with a high sugar content can negatively affect body weight. That’s because about 40 percent of the sugar individuals consume ends up being stored in the body as fat. That’s partially because one common sugar, fructose, is what’s called a hepototoxin. And the important thing to know about this type of sugar is that your body metabolizes it directly into fat.
So, you can imagine that if your child consumes high amounts of sugar via candy, and doesn’t burn it off, these calories end up being stored in the form of body fat. This can lead to weight gain or even obesity.
According to Dr. Mercola, “the obesity epidemic is directly related to excessive sugar consumption (virtually every single processed food is now loaded with hidden sugar and fructose, including baby food and foods thought of as “health foods”).
6. High Sugar Diets Interfere with Nutrient Absorption
When your child eats sugar, she’s not just missing out on healthy fruits and vegetables. In order for the body to break down sugar, it also uses up important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and iron. Eating sugar robs your body of necessary nutrients.
7. Too Much Sugar Can Increase Cancer Risks
It’s terrible to imagine any child suffering from cancer. That’s why it’s so important to feed your child a diet low in sugars. According to research published by the American Association for Cancer Research, fructose (a common form of sugar) has been shown to promote certain forms of cancer at an accelerated rate.
Tips for How to Limit Your Child’s Sugar and Candy Consumption
Since sugar is practically everywhere – not just in sweet treats – it’s important to make a concerted effort to limit your child’s sugar intake. Here are some suggestions to try at home:
Fill Up on Fats and Proteins
If you know your child will be exposed to lots of sugary foods, either at a party or while Trick-or-Treating, make them a delicious dinner they can’t resist. Fill them up with healthy, saturated fats, like organic butter, coconut oil and avocados. This will satiate them and leave little room for sugar. Plus, when they’re well fed, they won’t crave sugar as much.
Cut Out Fruit Juices and Soda Beverages
Most bottled beverages are packed with empty calories in the form of added sugars. They offer little to no nutritional value. So, it’s best to keep them out of your pantry. Instead of soda, consider introducing a fermented, fizzy drink, like Kombucha.
And instead of buying processed fruit juices, let your children eat whole foods, like oranges, apples, strawberries, bananas and pears. This way, they’ll have some sugar, but they’ll also consume fiber and other important nutrients like antioxidants, potassium and so much more.
Bake Your Own Desserts
Processed foods are loaded with sugars. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo sweets altogether. Why not make them yourself? This way, you can control exactly how much sugar you add. Furthermore, you can decide what type of sugar you use: cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar.
Candy danger is a real health threat for your child, but with the right information and tips, you can keep your child from consuming too much sugar so they stay healthy and strong.