Infant nutrition

Irreparable effects of sugar on the health of children

Sugar is directly and indirectly part of our idea. Directly because we add sugar to the yogurt (when it would not be necessary because it already has it) and, indirectly, because many more foods than we think have sugar in their original composition. Therefore, we should carefully review our diet and that of our children, because there are many irreparable effects of sugar on the health of children.

Sugar is a source of empty or unnecessary calories, which does not provide more nutrient than sucrose, neither vitamins nor minerals. Not even brown sugar or panela, which have a better press than refined sugar, can be considered substitutes for white sugar. While it is true that these unrefined sugars contain traces of some micronutrients (and large amounts of impurities), they are insignificant amounts that have no relevance in the diet.

Carbohydrates, also called sugars, provide energy to the body, especially the brain. In this way, its contribution in the diet is necessary, although we must choose the source of sugars to avoid health problems: 95% of the carbohydrate contribution in the diet must be complex and only 5% must come from simple sugars.

Simple sugars or simple carbohydrates are not only the tablespoons of sugar that we voluntarily add to meals or desserts, but also some foods that are routinely offered in children's diets, such as breakfast cereals, juices, yogurts are a considerable part , fruit porridges, as well as in industrial cookies and even in fried tomato!

An excessive consumption of simple sugars can certainly have serious and irreparable consequences on health that can appear during childhood or in adulthood:

- Obesity
Consuming excess calories inevitably leads to being overweight, and eventually obesity. The calories of simple carbohydrates are more easily assimilated than those of any other macronutrient, since the body does not need to expend energy to digest and use them, and accumulates them without regard, so the risk of obesity is even higher.

In fact, unused sugars are stored in the body in the form of fat with the help of the liver, since the body does not have large stores of glucose, only a small reserve of glycogen in the liver, hence they should not be consumed more than strictly necessary carbohydrates.

- Cavities
Caries are cavities or damage to tooth enamel normally caused, either by the growth of a microorganism, Streptococcus mutans, or by the acidic pH produced by some foods when mixed with saliva.

The excess of simple sugars in the diet constitutes a direct attack on the tooth enamel layer, which can cause irreversible damage, seriously weakening it. The maximum damage occurs during the first 20 minutes after consumption and is more serious if the food is in liquid form or remains in the mouth for a long time.

- Diabetes
Upon reaching the digestive tract, carbohydrates are hydrolyzed, dividing into simpler units, which are what cells can use. However, simple carbohydrates pass directly into the blood, increasing glucose levels quickly.

A continuous excess of simple sugars disrupts the functioning of the pancreas, which is responsible for producing the insulin necessary for the cells to use sugar for energy, and can influence the onset of diabetes, a metabolic disease that has no cure.

- Cardiovascular diseases
Too much sugar can raise blood pressure. In addition, it forces the liver to work more than it should, releasing a greater amount of fat into the bloodstream, from sugars that the body does not need. Both factors inevitably increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and these can appear even early.

- Cellular aging
Excess sugar slows down cell renewal (creation of new cells), so that the body's cells age, being slower to perform their functions.

- Weakening of the immune system
High sugar consumption alters the intestinal microbiota, one of the most important pillars of the immune system. Without this rapid and effective response to infections, the body sees its immune system clearly weakened.

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Video: How to Break Sugar Addiction: 7 Steps to Help You Stop Eating Sugar (September 2020).