Recommendations from the Children's Health Foundation on sugar consumption in children
Too much sugar makes children fat, adults sick and seniors toothless, the Child Health Foundation warned. The high sugar intake is a major problem for both children and adults in Germany. According to the experts, countermeasures are urgently required.
"Sugar in sweets, sweet drinks and foods makes you fat, promotes the development of diabetes and damages your teeth", emphasizes the Foundation for Child Health in its current communication. These connections have long been scientifically confirmed by many studies and underpinned by new studies. A reduction in sugar intake is therefore imperative. For many parents, however, it is difficult to estimate what level of candy is allowed in children.
Risks of high sugar consumption
Professor Dr. Berthold Koletzko, chairman of the Child Health Foundation, emphasizes that the high sugar intake in Germany is a huge problem for children and adults. Obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay are evidence of the high sugar consumption, and “fat children run the risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and gout,” says Professor Koletzko.
Eliminating sugar improves liver fat levels
Most recently, according to the Child Health Foundation, a study at the University of California, San Francisco, showed that obese (obese) children can cut down on liver fat, decrease belly fat, and decrease insulin output by avoiding sugar. The average body weight of the participants had also dropped, and all after just nine days without sugar.
Sugar causes massive dental treatment costs
In another study using data from 168 countries around the world, scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Biotechnology Research and Information Network AG (BRAIN AG) made it clear that sugar consumption was clearly associated with the occurrence of caries, Periodontitis and tooth loss as a result. For each additional consumption of 25 grams of sugar per person per day, the dental treatment costs in countries with high incomes rose on average by EUR 75 per person and year.
Criticism of the propaganda of the sugar lobby
To this day, the harmful effects of excessive sugar consumption are persistently denied by the sugar lobby, according to the Child Health Foundation. Furthermore, the opinion is undiminished that there is no direct connection between sugar and obesity and caries and that sugar consumption is further increased by advertising. German confectionery manufacturers alone spent a total of over EUR 898 million on media communication within a year - 15 percent more than in the previous year. Marketing for children on the Internet is also increasing, reports the Child Health Foundation, citing a study by the University of Hamburg funded by the AOK Federal Association.
Only ten percent of the energy required from sweets
In principle, according to the experts, confectionery, sodas and snacks should "not contribute more than about ten percent of the daily energy requirement." For a four- to six-year-old child, a scoop of ice cream and two butter cookies provide this ten percent of the daily energy requirement, emphasizes Professor Koletzko. Special care should be taken with sweetened drinks and sweet fruit juices. Many studies show a close connection between the regular consumption of such drinks and the worldwide increase in overweight.
Soft drinks are particularly critical
"Beverages sweetened with sugar flood the organism unchecked and quickly with excess calories and can thus unbalance the energy balance," warns Professor Koletzko. In addition, the liquid calories are less satiating than solid food and the rapid rise in blood sugar stimulates the formation of the hormone insulin and thus the fat deposits in the body. This applies not only to soft drinks such as cola and lemonades, but also to the fruit juices that are particularly popular in Germany. According to the expert, "infants and young children should drink fruit juice as reluctantly as adults drink champagne."
We like what is consumed regularly
The Children's Health Foundation emphasizes that only "tap water, mineral water, unsweetened herbal and fruit teas or fruit juice spritzers (two thirds water)" are really suitable as drinks for children. The experts warn that sugared fruit drinks and lemonades, including iced teas, should only be drunk occasionally. When implementing the TigerKids nutritional program in kindergartens, in which children are mainly given water or low-calorie drinks, it has been shown that what people like in the end is good if they consume it regularly. “Within a week, the children also ask their parents to use water as a drink at home”; said Professor Koletzko.
The Child Health Foundation provides the following advice to parents to ensure that sweets are consumed appropriately:
- Never use sweets as a reward, leverage, or punishment. Then sweets remain only tasty food and do not get an excessive emotional value.
- If possible, sweets are only eaten once a day with meals. The teeth are then brushed.
- Grandparents and aunts, relatives and acquaintances should also know the domestic rules for handling sweets.
- Do not create any sweet supplies: what is not in the house cannot be eaten. Fruit and carrots are a great help to combat cravings.
- Do not leave candy around. This is how you protect yourself and your children from eating candy, gummy bears, chocolate or cookies out of boredom or thoughtlessness without a special appetite.
- Tell your child as early as possible that sweet things are not good for your teeth. If possible, get used to brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth, or eating an apple after it has sucked candy.
- After brushing your teeth in the evening, nothing can be eaten. Late "bed candy" gnaw on the teeth.
- Stick to the rules yourself - whoever nibbles cannot be a role model.
Without question, sweets taste good and "children already know the taste from breast milk or from baby food and therefore love it," explains Professor Koletzko. Therefore, no sensible person would think of forbidding children of all sweetness, according to the expert further. Instead, the Child Health Foundation advocates establishing fixed rules for dealing with sweets in families right from the start, thus helping the child to find his own measure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the daily amount of six teaspoons of sugar in children (12 teaspoons in adults) should not be exceeded.
In order to be able to understand the sugar intake at all, the Child Health Foundation is also committed to an easy-to-understand traffic light system that makes the content of sugar, fat, salt and energy (calories) recognizable at a glance in all processed foods. (fp)