For kids, the recommended daily intake of added sugar is just three teaspoons. Some “healthy” snack bars contain more than that!
So, it only makes sense that when we talk about quitting sugar on our I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program, we wholeheartedly recommend that children get onboard (they’re the ones munching on those snack bars, after all). Here are seven reasons why your kids might benefit from quitting sugar right alongside you.
1. Kids are eating way too much added sugar.
- UK children aged 18 months to three years are having nine teaspoons of added sugar daily, while four to 10 year olds are consuming 15 teaspoons.
- Australian children and adolescents are not far behind, with just over 14 teaspoons per day.
- The average American child has 32 teaspoons of sugar a day! That’s over five times the amount recommended for an ADULT.
2. And no wonder – children are naturally addicted to sweet food.
Any parent knows that most kids will never find anything too sweet (exactly why there’s a market for sherbert). In fact, one study confirmed that children tolerate more sugar than adults, even suggesting that they are hardwired to love the stuff as they’re growing. Hmm, maybe better not to give it to them in the first place?
3. Kids’ food is one of the worst offenders for sugar.
You thought adults had it bad – try being a kid walking down the supermarket aisles full of sugary cereal, lollies and squeezie yoghurts emblazoned with Elsa and Minions.
And we’re not just talking about the obvious stuff. Those healthy-sounding “energy” bars can have as much sugar as a chocolate bar… and they’re sold in school canteens!
4. Quitting sugar means no more blood sugar roller coasters.
Parents, teachers and babysitters all know that you don’t give a child something sugary unless you want to knock yourself out (quite literally) trying to calm them down. And once that sugar high crashes, you’re left with a grizzly kid.
A diet of fresh vegetables, protein and healthy fats, however, is ideal for keeping blood sugar levels stable. You never heard of a Brussels sprouts high!
5. Dental decay rates in children are rising.
Alright, let’s get serious for a moment here. For a world which has constant medical advances, there’s really no reason why kids are suffering terrible tooth decay… except sugar.
Kids as young as 18 months are having teeth pulled out due to sugary drinks, while tooth extractions in the number one reason for children being admitted to hospital in the UK. Take a moment to think about this.
6. And childhood obesity rates are just getting worse.
- A quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese.
- More than one-fifth of UK kids begin school overweight or obese, increasing to ONE-THIRD by the time they leave primary school.
- More than one-third of American children are also overweight or obese.
Pretty bleak stuff, but quitting sugar has been shown to help. In 2015, a groundbreaking study by Dr Robert Lustig presented emerging evidence that sugar alone affects the metabolic health of children, and when it was removed all markers of health improved.
7. By quitting sugar, you’ll set them up with good eating habits for life.
It’s child’s play, really, but studies have shown that if kids have positive food influences from an early age they will carry that attitude into adolescence. Quitting sugar is no dangerous diet either – it’s simply about eating a tonne of fresh vegetables, protein and healthy fats (and yes, we eat fruit, too).
On our 8-Week Program, also we give you the knowledge to equip you and your kids to choose healthier options, shirk the crappy stuff and do it all within a family-friendly budget (leftovers are totally encouraged). Check out how mum Elise quit sugar with her entire family of five here.
We originally published this post in January 2016. We updated it in May 2017.