Cutting back on added sugars can improve your family's health

Monitoring your family's sugar intake could pay dividends in the future.

December 27, 2016 - Author: Zelda Felix-Mottley, Michigan State University Extension

Could the age-old sayings like, “so much sugar isn’t good for you” or “the sugar is making the kids hyper” have some kind of truth to it?

Sugar has been around for a long time, so why the new attention? Recent studies, like the one found in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, talks about an adverse association of the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to childhood attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In addition, there are studies relating sugary drink consumption to increased childhood obesity, read the article in the Harvard T.H. Chan’s The Nutrition Source on Sugary Drinks

Whether you believe the associations or not, this idea is slowly beginning to affect the soft drink industry. If you look today, you will notice that companies are starting to advertise reduced sugar soft drink options. Because not all sugars are created equal, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at what you’re feeding your children. 

Take an assessment of how much added sugar you are feeding your children on an average weekday and on a weekend, then decide to reduce in small increments at first. Once you’ve assessed your family’s sugar intake, progress to only using foods with naturally occurring sugar for most days of the week. Save the added sugar treats for special occasions and holidays. 

See Michigan State University Extension’s Sorting out natural sweeteners and sugar article to learn to identify the foods with added sugar and naturally occurring sugars. Taking steps to reducing sugar intake now can have a great impact on your family’s health.

Remember: It is so much easier to introduce healthier eating habits to children, rather that trying to make changes later in life. So, take care of your children’s health now and it will pay dividends later! Learn more about health and nutrition by visiting MSU Extension.

Tags: caregiving, diabetes, family, food & health, msu extension, nutrition, physical development and health


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