HAWKESBURY DISTRICT INDEPENDENT NEWS | www.hdinews.com.au
ISSUE 33 | FEBRUARY 2013 31
Natural Health & Wellbeing
: Food Additives sugar in 100g or a serving by 4. There can be up to 4 teaspoons of sugar in some yoghurts, 2½ in a tin of baked beans and up to 6½ in a small bar of milk chocolate. Look at the labels on foods, and check for added sugars. Sugar comes under the guise of many names: fructose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, glucose syrup, lactose, corn syrup, hydrolysed starch, inverted sugar, or concentrated fruit juice. The nutrition panel details how much total sugar is contained in a food, but this can include added and natural sugars. When children consume sugar-rich foods they get an artificial high, rapidly raising the levels of sugar and adrenaline in their bloodstream. This can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, and difficulties concentrating. This rapid rise in blood sugar levels stimulates the release of too much insulin, which causes children’s blood sugar levels to plummet, resulting in irritable and cranky kids. Regular consumption of these foods can lead to children becoming overweight or obese, which is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. It also increases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life. Large amounts of sugar in the diet can also interfere with the absorption of calcium and zinc, important minerals for children’s health and development. 6 teaspoons of sugar a day can suppress the effectiveness of your immune system by up to 25%. Sugar competes with vitamin C uptake into immune cells. I often recommend to parents whose children have a cold or ‘flu to cut out sugar while they are ill so as to allow the immune system to reach its full potential. If your child constantly has an infection, perhaps you should consider reducing or eliminating sugar from the diet. Frequent consumption of sugary foods and beverages is one of the leading causes of tooth decay in children. But they’re fun! Many parents fondly look at lollies and junk food with nostalgia and think that if they don’t give their children these foods they are missing out on a vital experience of childhood. Now that you know the facts about some of these additives, you may look at your child’s lunchbox or the next birthday party spread through new eyes. Ask yourself if you really want your family to be eating these chemicals in our foods which are not even allowed in foods in other countries. Think about the long term health effects of these chemicals and added sugar and whether or not you want your family to eat real foods or so called “fun” foods filled with additives.
Helpful ways to reduce your child’s additive and sugar intake ✓ Get creative and make healthy versions of your kid's favourite sweet foods. Fruits such as berries and bananas are an ideal way to sweeten cakes, muffins, sauces and smoothies. ✓ Many yoghurts aimed at children contain too much sugar, additives and preservatives. Make your own by getting a natural full-fat yoghurt and add your own fruits, such as a dollop of fruit puree, or from 9 months on chopped dried fruit (choose unsulphured). ✓ Instead of giving your child sweet snacks that are high in added sugar and low in nutrients, offer them healthier naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, small amounts of sun-dried fruit and fruit yoghurts. ✓ Choose whole oats, natural mueslis, puffed cereals (rice, millet, buckwheat) and other wholegrains for breakfast instead of sugary breakfast cereals. ✓ Watch out for so called health bars and breakfast bars in your supermarket - often marketed as healthy snacks or 'breakfast on the run'. You are best-off making your own muesli bars and biscuits for your kids to take to school and for after-school snacks. ✓ Avoid giving soft drinks to your kids. Instead mix a little 100% fruit juice with some natural mineral water. ✓ Avoid using cordials as they are a concentrated form of sugar. Use 100% fruit juice as cordial, diluted with water. ✓ Keep lollies and chocolates for special occasions such as birthday parties, and try to go for those free from additives and synthetic colours. ✓ Make it extra special by getting the kids involved in making the sweets at home - they’ll have fun making them with you, and will appreciate the treats all the more because they’ve helped make them.
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Hawkesbury Independent Issue 33