Why is sugar free unhealthy
Child nutrition: how useful is it to give up sugar?
Mobil-e: Dr. Köhrer, what makes sugar - especially for children - so dangerous?
Dr. Martin Koehrer: Sugar is unhealthy for the body in every way. First of all, excessive sugar consumption can quickly contribute to a child building too much body fat. In Germany, one in seven children is now overweight.¹ Obesity, in turn, is often the start of a whole series of serious health consequences such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. You have to imagine: In the past, type 2 diabetes was referred to as "old age sugar" - today, young people already get it. A one-sided diet, such as that caused by too much sugar, also unbalances the intestinal flora. In addition, sugar is downright addicting. This also applies to adults, but it is particularly fatal with children, because the sense of taste develops in the first two years of life. If the children regularly consume sugar during this time, their sense of taste adapts to the sweet products. With sweet juices and the like, parents get their babies used to the taste of sugar and make them dependent on a substance that is harmful to them.
Mobil-e: Is only sugar in the form of sweets harmful or is the sugar trap also lurking in other foods?
Dr. Martin Koehrer: When we talk about sugar in everyday life, we usually mean industrially manufactured sugar. But there are also types of sugar that are a natural component of food. For example, fructose is a type of sugar found in fruit. And lactose is the sugar found in milk and dairy products. From a nutritional point of view, all types of sugar are carbohydrates. To a certain extent, the human body needs carbohydrates as well as proteins and fats in order to gain energy. But: The amount of carbohydrates that we consume as part of natural foods is already completely sufficient to meet our energy needs. We do not need additional carbohydrates in the form of industrial sugar.
Mobil-e: Why do so many parents still give their children sugar?
Dr. Martin Koehrer: In my opinion, ignorance and laziness often come together. In fact, many parents do not know how much sugar is in the foods they offer their children every day. A recent study showed that 74% of parents underestimate the sugar content of most foods and beverages, and in some cases considerably. 2 At the same time, it turned out that the children of the parents in question are also more likely to be overweight. But unfortunately it is also the case that many mothers and fathers reach for biscuits or juice bottles all too quickly to appease their screaming child. In this way, many children consume enormous amounts of sugar throughout the day. You shouldn't forget that children consume much less energy than adults. The relationships can be illustrated very easily: If a child who weighs ten kilograms drinks a bottle of juice, for example, this translates to nine bottles for the father of 90 kilograms, i.e. a very large amount - most parents do not even realize this .
Mobil-e: Do you advocate that parents feed their children completely sugar-free?
Dr. Martin Koehrer: No, giving up any sugar would not be healthy either. My recommendation is a very careful use of sugar - sweets have to be something special, the absolute exception. And you should make that clear to your child in exactly the same way.
Mobil-e: What do you advise parents to do?
Dr. Martin Koehrer: I would like to encourage you to say "no" to sugar more often. Parents should realize that they are not restricting their child, but rather protecting them from something - and that is a big difference. You protect your child from an electrical outlet or the hot stove top - basically, they do exactly the same thing when they say “no” to sugar. I would also like to recommend parents-to-be to deal with the issue of child nutrition at an early stage - preferably during pregnancy, because once the child is born, there is usually not enough time.
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