In the past 25 years obesity has quadrupled among six to eleven year old children and doubled in kids twelve to nineteen years old. This increase in childhood obesity is causing an alarming amount of diseases we usually only see in adults. These diseases include: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and triglycerides, fatty liver, sleep apnea, and joint issues.
Researchers state that a big proportion of our obesity issues are due to the increase in consumption of sweet beverages. In fact, the rise in the past 30 years of childhood obesity exactly correlates with the increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
How much sugar should we have in our diet (both in food and drinks)?
According to the AHA, American Heart Association:
Most nutritional sources recommend the following for our kids:
- Adult women: less than 6 teaspoons per day
- Adult men: less than 9 teaspoons per day
- Preschoolers: less than 4 teaspoons per day
- 4-8 year olds: less than 3 teaspoons per day
- Pre-Teens and Teens: less than 5-8 teaspoons per day
Now let’s have some fun.
How much sugar is in that 12 oz drink you just bought your child?
- Gatorade: 5 teaspoons
- Lemonade: 6 teaspoons
- 100% Orange Juice: 7.5 teaspoons
- Naked Brand Berry Juice: 7.5 teaspoons
- 100% Apple Juice: 9 teaspoons
- Mcdonalds Chocolate Shake: 10 teaspoons
- Coca Cola 10.25 teaspoons
- Fruit Punch: 11.5 teaspoons
- Root Beer: 11.5 teaspoons
- Grape Juice: 12 teaspoons
- Starbucks Mocha Frappucino: 61 grams
- Dairy Queen Oreo Cookie Blizzard: 82 grams
So what’s my advice???
Never, ever, ever buy juice or soda for your kids. Even if something says 100% juice there is no fiber, very little nutritional benefits, and your child’s blood sugar will sky rocket. Stick with fresh fruit. If you want a treat, have some frozen yogurt, a homemade fruit smoothie (see this week’s recipe), a small serving of ice cream or a milkshake. Treats are fine once in a while but not daily!