Eating holiday treats such as sugar cookies, cakes or pies is one of the reasons children look forward to this time of year. In the spirit of generosity and good cheer, we may allow them to indulge more than usual. However, it is important to remember these types of foods are laden with large amounts of sugar and we should continue to moderate the amounts that children consume.
The American Heart Association recommends, “Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories shouldn’t consume any more than 170 calories, or about 4 teaspoons, of added sugar a day. Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day. As your child grows into his pre-teen and teen years, and his caloric range increases to 1,800 to 2,000 a day, the maximum amount of added sugar included in his daily diet should be 5 to 8 teaspoons.”
Many holiday desserts contain more than the daily recommended amounts of sugar in each serving. For instance, there can be as much as three teaspoons of sugar in a medium slice of carrot cake (1/12 of 16 oz. cake).
Too much sugar can negatively affect children’s health. Excessive amounts have been shown to weaken their immune systems, promote tooth decay and increase the risk of obesity which further leads to more complicated health conditions such as diabetes.
There are several steps you can take to moderate your child’s sugar consumption, here are a few:
- Allow treats only on special occasions
- Read labels
- Swap sugary snacks for healthier options
- When baking, opt for recipes that include sugar substitutes or reduced amounts of sugar
- Inform friends and family members that you are limiting your child’s sugar consumption to ensure they respect your wishes
- Educate your children on how having too much sugar can be harmful to their health
Although moderating sugar consumption may come with challenges; however, parents are strongly urged to be persistent in their efforts. Speak with your pediatrician about ways you can curb sugar cravings and establish a healthy diet for your child.
To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.