Sugar: No thank you, my child is sweet enough.

  • Diabetes and fatty liver disease are on the rise in obese and overweight children.
  • However, there is now a rise in diabetes and fatty liver disease in children who are not overweight or obese.

Excess sugar leads to diabetes and fatty liver disease.No Sugar

The U.S. Government has recently issued new sugar guidelines:

  • Sugar should be no more than 10% of total daily calories.
  • Children should limit sugar intake to no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons per day.

One of the biggest sources of sugar in kids comes from soda, juice, and sports drinks.

  • Can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar
  • Capri Sun contains 5 teaspoons of sugar
  • 8 ounce Gatorade contains 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 8 ounce glass of chocolate milk contains 7 teaspoons of sugar

Many kids have several glasses of sugar containing drinks every day.

Every teaspoons of sugar is equal to 4 grams of sugar.  The average teenager consumes 28 teaspoons of sugar or 112 grams of sugar a day! Limit your child’s sugar intake and pull their sweet tooth!

So what can be done to stop diabetes and fatty liver disease in children?

  1. Healthy Drinking: Start by looking at what your child is drinking. Give up the liquid sugar and increase the water intake.  Get seltzer water and add a splash of fresh orange or lemon.
  2. Read Food Labels:  Look at the amount of sugar and remember 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Compare brands to find the one with the least sugar.
  3. Hidden Sugar:  Look for “hidden sugar”.  Flavored yogurts, cereals, and flavored oatmeal are advertised as being healthy but are high in sugar.
  4. Healthy Snacks:  Choose fresh fruits, carrot sticks, celery and nuts over processed foods.

Sweet substitutes

Instead of: Flavored yogurt
Try: Plain yogurt with fruit and a small amount of honey

Instead of: Canned fruit
Try: Fresh fruit.  A cup of fresh peaches has 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of sugar, whereas the same amount of canned peaches in light syrup has 8 teaspoons (32 grams) of sugar.

Instead of: Maple syrup
Try: Topping pancakes or waffles with fresh fruit or preserves. The low-sugar variety of preserves has only 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) of sugar per tablespoon. Syrup has 9 teaspoons (39 grams) grams of sugar for every 1/4 cup.

Work together as a family to improve your child’s eating habits.  Start with one new healthy eating habit today.  Calculate how much sugar your child is eating and set a goal of reducing sugar intake by 1 teaspoon (4 grams) every day this week. Small changes over time will lead to big differences in your child’s health.

If you would like more information about gastrointestinal (GI) digestive disorders and nutrition in children, please contact Dr. Mona Dave’s Frisco Office.