Is Your Toddler Consuming Too Much Sugar?Naomi Odes
I remember when Shnook was a baby and I was strolling him around town, trying to get him to fall asleep. I was standing in line at one of the thousands of donut shops in Los Angeles…don’t ask why I was in a donut shop…this story is not about me, okay??
Anyway, so there I was. In front of me was a mother and a boy who looked no more than four. He was wearing a uniform from a nearby Parochial school and he was breathing hard on the glass–the only separation between him and those delectable, melt-in-your-mouth confections..
His mom said: “You can only have two.”
He groaned a little, but picked one with pink icing and sprinkles and another one with chocolate and sprinkles. Then she asked him what he wanted to drink. He selected a 20 oz blue Gatorade.
They paid for their items and skipped out the door, the little boy already had a ring of blue around his upper lip and some sprinkles stuck to his cheek.
I’m constantly being bombarded with news and parenting advice regarding the dangers of sugar, how sugar is ‘poison.’ Then, there are studies like this one: U.S. Study Finds Children Consuming Too Much Sugar.
I usually take these kinds of things with a grain of salt (not sugar) but I try my best to keep the sugar in my children’s diet relatively low.
Now, what is relative? Obviously, the story I illustrated above represents, in my mind, a large quantity of sugar in a toddler’s diet, but my relative could be different from other people’s relative.
That being said, my relative could also be too much sugar for lots of people. This article says a child should only have 4 teaspoons of added sugars a day. Sometimes, my relative creeps out of my comfort zone. Frankly, that can happen often, because it’s so easy to shrug your shoulders and say, “What’s a little honey on his already-unsweetened-raw-almond-butter-whole-grain toast?”
That’s fine, but when you say that five times in a day about five different things– it adds up.
Interestingly, this article says that sugar for toddlers was lowest overall, which begs the questions:
1. Is that because parents have more control over toddlers’ diets?
2. If that’s the case, is it a losing battle because once kids can control their own diets they’ll just eat whatever they want, anyway?
3. Does withholding sugar at a young age encourage more sugar consumption in older children and adolescents? Or do you think that’s not connected?
What do you think? Where do you stand on the sugar debate?
Photo via Flickr