Monday, October 26, 2015

Childhood Obesity Part 3 of 3

As far as food intake, parents can do their part by only providing food in the home which is healthy and nourishing and by lobbying for more nutritional school cafeteria foods.  Also, parents can  cook healthy meals, or have healthy snacks available, versus letting kids have the junk food they want. Have no sugar or white flour products in the house.  If fast food has to be procured, there are healthier options than those filled with white flour and sugar, which need to be avoided across the board. One would not want overindulging a child with  food to become a substitute for the love and attention children need.
Sugar is a big culprit in childhood obesity.  It is also well known that sugar is addictive, the more you eat the more you want.  Sugar also destabilizes the blood sugar and stimulates the appetite, leading to overeating.
Unfortunately we are bombarded by sugar in many hidden forms, as well as the obvious.  The average per person sugar consumption in the U.S. is 142 pounds yearly. This equals 48 tsp daily.  Hard to believe?  This is because 33tsp of that intake are added during the processing of foods and beverages as opposed to being naturally occurring. 
A 12 ounce soft drink contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.  Eight ounces of one brand of sweetened apple yogurt contains 44 grams of sugar.  Four grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon, so this is the equivalent of 11 teaspoons of sugar.  You might think handing your child a container of yogurt was a good thing.  Instead you can buy plain yogurt which has no added sugar, flavor it with fresh fruit, and sweeten with stevia powder if it even needs to be sweeter.  Be careful about some of the artificial sweeteners, as they can pose their own problems.  See my newsletter on this topic for what to avoid.
Read labels and look for hidden sugars such as corn syrup, corn sweetener, sucrose, dextrose, glucose, barley malt, agave nectar, rice syrup, maple syrup, honey.  This is not to mention the obvious listing of sugar on the label.  If you take this extra time to read and be a detective while shopping, you can save your family many empty unhealthy calories and promote their health and well being.

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