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A common train of thought in America is that we only need to watch what we are eating once we are around 30-40 years old and that kids can eat whatever they want. It is true that most people don’t start developing problems until they are around 40 but those problems did not come out of nowhere. Our unhealthy eating lifestyle builds up over time and develops into a problem later on. Nutrition is extremely important when you are a child because you are doing so much growing and developing during this time and need essential nutrients in order to develop properly. Also, how we eat in childhood develops habits for us that we take well into adulthood and tend to cause many disease conditions. And nowadays we are seeing these disease conditions in younger and younger individuals. We are even seeing type 2 diabetes in children now.
One study showed that a child can consume up to 3 cups of sugar in halloween candy. That is 7,000 calories from just candy! The American Heart Association recommends that children limit their added sugar intake to 3-8 teaspoons per day. Consuming a large amount of sugar at one time spikes your blood sugar. 3 cups of sugar would be too much for even a child’s pancreas to be able to handle and properly lower with insulin. This amount of sugar puts the child at risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive problems, colon cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatic cancer, nerve damage, and obesity.
It used to be unheard of for there to be an obese child. But in today’s society it has become far too normalized. In the past 30 years, obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. Now one-third of children in america are overweight or obese. Consumption of excess sugar is a strong risk factor for developing obesity.
Childhood Type 2 Diabetes
It also used to be unheard of for children to have diseases that were not genetic but caused by lifestyle. However, that is not the case anymore. In 2015 the annual number of children ages 10-19 newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was 5,5758. Consistent excessive sugar intake leads to insulin resistance and then to type 2 diabetes
Everyone knows that sugar causes cavities. However, there are candies that are worse for causing cavities than others.
One of these is hard candies. This is because hard candies stay in your mouth for a long period of time and thus increase the risk of a cavity. The exception to this is if it is a sugar-free hard candy. However, artificial sweeteners cause more harm than sugar. The only sugar-free candy that is a good option is one that is sweetened with stevia.
Sticky candies will get stuck in your teeth and cling to them. This causes the teeth to have a prolonged contact with the candy and thus increase the risk of cavity development.
Acidity can remove the enamel coating on the teeth and causethem to be more vulnerable to damage. Therefore, any acidic candy that can lower the pH of the mouth is
bad for your teeth. On top of this, bacteria thrive in acidic environments, including those that cause cavities. Thus, an acidic environment promotes cavity development.
Better Candy Options
This Halloween try to limit your child’s candy consumption to only a certain amount of candy rather than them being able to binge on 3 cups of sugars worth of candy. Also, try to limit the worst offenders and the candies containing gluten.
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