Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Sugar Runes in Children: Do They Exist?

Cones, sodas, sundaes, popsicles… summer is here, and that means your kids are probably eating more sweets than usual.

But does a sugar rush really cause hyperactivity in children, as many parents believe?

The idea of ​​a “sugar rush” began gaining traction in the 1970s, thanks in large part to a best-selling book by pediatrician Ben Feingold, Why is your child hyperactive?, In the book, Feingold argues (with little evidence) that food additives, including sugar, are associated with excitable behavior in children.

However, the link between sugar and hyperactivity has been completely debunked in two comprehensive and well-regarded reviews of the research in 1994 and 1995.

According to Mark Corkins, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition, the overwhelming consensus of researchers is that “there is no association.”

However, the myth of the sugar rush is stronger and stronger than ever. What’s up?

Think about what events are associated with high sugar intake, says Professor Corkins at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “Birthday parties, get-togethers, Christmas, Thanksgiving.”

Pool, barbecue, picnic, day at the beach. Are you starting to see patterns?

“When you see times when kids have high sugar intake, it’s usually associated with when they’re going to be hyper, even if you haven’t given them any sugar,” he says.

In other words, being in a festive setting with family and friends that children don’t see every day is a very powerful stimulator in itself.

Diana Schnee, a registered pediatric dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children in the United States, says she has seen direct evidence of sugar spikes.

However, “there are many things that could explain children’s hyperactivity and changes in emotion,” Schnee says. “One of them is that they’re kids, and that’s very typical.”

What’s more, eating too many refined carbohydrates can lead to inflammation, which can affect a child’s behavior, he says. Similarly, not eating enough fruits or vegetables can lead to constipation, which can also lead to restlessness and a bad mood.

When we eat carbohydrates, our bodies break down the food into a type of blood sugar called glucose. Our organs, tissues and cells depend on glucose as a vital energy source, which is one of the reasons why the keto diet is so dangerous.

Although there are many types of sugar in the diet, nutritionists divide sugar in the diet into two basic categories: regular, or natural, sugar; And added sugar.

“Well, carrots are a vegetable. They’re high in beta-carotene. But they actually have some natural sugar,” Corkins says.

Fruits also contain a natural sugar called fructose, just like milk, which contains a natural sugar called lactose. However, Corkins says there is no limit to the amount of natural sugars kids can consume on a daily basis. What to watch out for is added sugars, which can contribute to diseases such as obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The main sources of added sugars in Spain are processed desserts, sweetened drinks and snacks, according to a study by CEU-San Pablo University and the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, published in the journal Nutrition. Nutrients,

For children under the age of two, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no added sugar at all. Similarly, for children between the ages of two and 18, the same experts suggest 25 grams, or about six teaspoons, of added sugar per day.

To put these numbers in context, a can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams (or between 7.5 and 9.5 teaspoons) of sugar.

Now, before you start feeling like a bad parent for letting your kids eat more sugar than health officials recommend, rest assured that Corkins and his colleagues are aware of the challenge of this task.

“Most kids take more than that,” he admits.

Although in countries such as Mexico the presence of added sugars is clearly indicated with a black mark, in Spain we still have to check the fine print of the nutritional information and look in the category called “carbohydrates, of which sugars”. .

In general, Sche advises parents to realize that sugar is like any other ingredient: good in moderation.

“Sugar by itself isn’t terrible if you eat it in moderation and frequently,” he says.

“So I’m not worried about the occasional slice of birthday cake or Thanksgiving pie. I’m more concerned about sugar in a child’s diet on a regular basis.”

World Nation News Desk
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