Exceeding recommended sugar intake can lead to obesity, heart disease, cravings, and diabetes (among other health conditions).
Surveys have found that the average American (adults and children) consume ~ 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar every day. However, we really should be eating only a fraction of that amount.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit added sugar to 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, and AHA recommends that children limit sugar intake to 3 teaspoons (12 grams) per day.
The best way to cut added sugars is to regularly limit processed/packaged foods as much as possible (anything that comes in a bag, box, or wrapper and has more than a few ingredients).
For instance, 2 bowls of corn flakes OR 2 sodas OR one granola bar will put a child OVER their daily limit!Check it out:
Plain bagel: 5.05 grams of sugar, 4.8 added
Whole-wheat bread (one slice): 5.57 grams of sugar, 5.0 added
Regular sodas: 8.97 grams of sugar, all of it added
Fruit punch: 11.29 grams of sugar, 4.4 of which are added
Bowl of corn flakes: 6.11 grams of sugar, all of it added
Fruit-flavored yogurt: 19 grams of sugar, 11.4 added
Italian salad dressing: 8.85 grams of sugar, 6.9 added
Fruit cocktail canned in light syrup: 13.93 grams of sugar, 6.4 added
Smooth peanut butter: 9.22 grams of sugar, 3.1 added
Granola bars: 21.8 grams of sugar, 20.4 added
Low-sodium spaghetti sauce: 11.57 grams of sugar, 6.5 added.
As a parent, what can you do to keep your child from over-indulging at Halloween (and throughout the holidays)?
Turn it into a GAME! Kids love games.
Have them add up their daily sugar intake - the lower it is the more points they earn. They can then turn the points in for something else like money, toys, free time, etc.
Keep a chart and add up daily and weekly points. If you have more than one child, it can be a friendly competition.
And model healthy habits for your children so there's consistency in the message. Kids learn the most from watching the adults around them. So, make sure your daily habits are congruent.