Why are kids addicted to sugar?
Healthy eating habits today determine your child’s quality of life in his or her later years.
Unfortunately, more and more kids are getting lifestyle related issues like diabetes, obesity, dental issues and so on.
By 2030, 27 million kids will be obese in India. India is top 5 in obesity - 22% of Indian kids are obese. 2 out of 3 children have dental issues*
Poor food and lifestyle choices are few of the reasons for these alarming statistics.
Kids love sweets, don’t they? We all do but the problem is when we get addicted to sweets!
Here we are addressing one of the root causes of this problem and its solutions.
The problem is white sugar/high fructose corn syrup/glucose syrup are all very addictive.
Even simple carbohydrates like refined flour(maida) has a similar impact on our body as white sugar. All these refined foods and sweets quickly turn into blood sugar and gives a spike, It leads to a surge of dopamine in your brain, which makes you feel good instantly. As soon as the effect wears off you start craving for more sugar.
This spike leads to a crash makes you crave more sugar! We end up falling into a trap of this vicious cycle!
Watch out for these signs in your kid.
- Mood swings – They throw tantrums and get irritable when they are unable to fix their sweet cravings. And the dip in the sugar leads to feeling low.
2. Hyper activity – They are unable to focus and sit still.
But why are they craving so much of sugar?
- They are hungry- Kids are active beings and burn up a lot of energy. When they feel hungry, they want to quickly fix it so that they can continue with whatever that they were doing. Sweets give you instant energy, so that’s their best go to option.
- They are dehydrated – When they are not drinking enough water and eating enough fruits and vegetables, their bodies are deprived of essential minerals which leads to a very strong sugar craving.
- Easy accessibility to junk candies – They see junk candies everywhere, on TV commercials, at birthday parties and they see their peers eat them! So, they feel the FOMO and want it as well.
- They are bored – When they are watching too much of media, they get overly stimulated and once the media is turned off they get extremely bored. Eating candies gives them a dopamine rush and makes them feel good instantly.
- They need emotional comfort – Kids specially under 6 years of age need their parents to be around for them to feel secured and confident. Even older kids are learning the ways of life, and they need their parent’s love, acknowledgement, and support. When they don’t get enough of it, they may look at junk food/sweets to comfort them emotionally.
- Plan their diets, their food menus in advance – A balanced diet includes a variety of fruits and veggies – 5 portions to be precise, 1 portion = 80g of fruits/veggies a day, whole grains, a source of clean protein like whole dals, sprouts and good fats like nuts and seeds.
- Easy accessibility to healthy options - Always keep fruits, dry fruits, nuts and seeds, healthy candies, and whole grain snacks at spots in your house easily accessible to kids. So even when you are busy, they can get their hands on them. Keep their water bottles filled, give them options of other liquids like coconut water.
- Lead by example – As parents, we should minimize consumption of junk foods, unhealthy desserts and sweets. Our kids are silently observing us, them may not eat all that we eat but they will eventually imbibe healthy habits from us.
- Set boundaries - Children like structure. For eg, Allow sweets only after meals or in their tiffin boxes along with the other healthy items.
- Empower children – Children should be aware that their actions have consequences, which they need to learn from. A tooth ache or a stomach and a visit to a doctor will make them realize the importance of eating healthy over a period of time. They will learn being responsible and will think for themselves from an early age.
- Engage them in productive activities - Like sports, games, reading, dancing etc,
- Spend quality time with them – Quality supersedes quantity. We are all busy parents but giving those 20 minutes in a day without any interruption from phone calls and social media, makes a huge difference in making them secured individuals. And don’t forget the hugs!
*allied market research report
Certified Health Coach
Mom of a 8 year old.
Founder, Mezmo Candy