Sugar in children’s products

When working I’ve recently noticed just how much sugar is in children’s products but also how much sugar laden food/products parents buy to their children. Of course I shouldn’t judge, but the health conscious person in me can’t just shake it off. My goal in the future is to help people make better food choices.

Sugar isn’t the devil as some people think . It’s ok to eat sugar in moderation, but the problem is that people don’t eat it in moderation, they eat it in extreme amounts. It’s not just chocolate and cake and ice cream, it’s in the ketchup, in the juice, in the salsa, in the dressing, in the soda drink, in the flavoured yoghurt etc etc people aren’t aware where all the hidden sugar is, and even less knowing of the sugar in the children’s product’s.

I almost find it shocking to see how much sugar products is bought and produced for children.

I eat Sugar just like anyone else however I also make a conscious choice about my sugar consumption. Sometimes I bake with sugar, other times with stevia. Sometimes I buy whole grain bread, other times I buy white bread. Sometimes I buy chocolate sweetened with stevia and other times sweetened with sugar. But I am aware of my choices.

Children aren’t. If children get introduced to sugar and sugary products early on they get addicted and used to it and want more and more of it.

Children are the ones who need the most nutritionally dense food because 1) they are growing and need all the nutrients and 2) they don’t need as much calories (most often) as an adult, So that means that they have even less room for junk food. For example a milkshake and from McDonald’s might be 5E% of an adults intake but can be 10E% for a child. ( just an example!).

Kids needs more nutritious food as they don’t have as many calories to “spare” on junk food.

Kids are recommended only around 19-24g of sugar i.e 5-6sugar cubes per day which is around 5E% . And a can of coke (330ml) has around 35g of sugar i.e 7 sugar cubes, which goes to show just how easy it is for the sugar intake to sky rocket especially if you aren’t aware of where the sugar is coming from.

Also you don’t want your child to get used to sugary food and then anything that isn’t processed or has sugar, the kid doesn’t like or want.

I don’t blame the parents, I blame the lack of education but also the companies that fill the food with sugar and salt. Parents aren’t aware of what’s in the products.

If kids learn to enjoy unprocessed food and with treats every now and then it’s better for their overall health, their energy, concentration, weight, teeth etc

I really hope in the future more parents think about the amount of sugary and processed food they give their children. And I understand, it’s easier to just heat up pasta and meatballs than to cook a proper meal and it’s easier to give your child chocolate when it’s screaming in the store than to give him/her a banana. But if you teach your child to like fruit from an early age then they will be more likely to want and eat that.

Of course what’s practical in theory might not work in reality. I don’t have children so I don’t know what it’s like to raise children, but the health nut inside of me wants to help edu ate parents so that they can atleast make a conscious decision about what they feed their children and not think that giving them sugary cereal, sugary yoghurt, sugary juice and processed meat and think that’s healthy.

What are your thoughts about this topic, feel free to comment your opinion whether you think i am unrealistic, harsh or what you think about the education and information available… maybe there should be some form of marking to make it clear just how much sugar is in items?

And let’s make one thing clear, sugar is ok in moderation, it’s all about balance. But the problem is that far too many don’t eat sugar in balance or moderation and that’s when the problems occur.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Soraya. says:

    What you’re saying is completely true! I am shocked at how much junk is there in the stores.. the chocolate, cookies, yoghurts.. I mean, I think those companies should make better choices when it comes to the added sugar, especially when targetting children. I have a young sister and it’s quite difficult sometimes to let her eat fruits instead of ice creams or processed cereals.. it depends on how you raise the children up from the very beginning. I was personally brought up to eat loads of fruits and vegetables and eating crisps and sugary products was a very occasional thing for me. But I plan to raise my kids differently.. I’d rather bake at home than buy those products, honestly! It’s weird how the economy is not really conscious anymore about benefiting human beings.


  2. There is so much unnecessary “hidden” sugar in foods today. I think that people are just not aware of the amount of sugar in everyday foods. Here in the UK the Government have introduced a sugar tax – whereby the price of high sugar soft drinks has been increased to help persuade people not to buy them. Also there has been a ban put on the advertising of sugary snacks/junk food on the tv before the watershed in the hope that if children are not exposed to the availability of such products they won`t want them. I don`t think this enough. There needs to be some serious education about the sugar levels in our food and the health risks involved. Also home economics lessons needs to be brought back into the school curriculam so that children receive an education in a healthy diet and learn how to put a meal together from scratch. So many parents these days just do not bother to teach their children how to cook because they themselves relie on processed convienience foods far too often. So the children grow up not knowing any different.
    There are lower sugar foods alavailable, but my argument is why sell them alongside the high sugar varieties? If the food manufacturers stopped making the high sugar foods and replaced them with lower sugar ones then people just wouldn’t be able to have them. And if a food product is capable of being low sugar why didn’t they just make that in the first place?
    Obesity in children and adults is rocketing in the UK and something needs to be done about it. There definitely needs to be more education about how to eat a healthy diet and pressure needs to be put on food manufacturers to stop making the high sugar foods.
    The amount of sugary foods aimed at children is particulary scary – novelty sweetened yogurts, cartoon character biscuits etc and it really shouldn’t be the case. I believe a child is capable of eating normal healthy food if exposed to such foods from an early age. If they are brought up right from the start to eat fruit and veg then this becomes the norm for them. Parents need to realise this and educate themselves for the sake of their childrens health.
    I could write loads on this topic as I find it so interesting. The consumption of sugar is all about balance and the problem is that too many people haven’t got that balance right. Clearer marking on food packaging would help but I think what is needed the most is a huge drive to make people aware of the sugar they are not just consciously eating through chocolate or sweets but the hidden sugars where you just do not expect to find it. And to make those people/parents who just don`t seem bothered by the amount of sugar they feed their children realise just what harm they are causing by doing so.
    Thanks for posting on this subject Izzy – its very interesting!


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