If you are like most parents that have walked down the store aisle with your child, you understand how many sugary treats await you at the end of your shopping experience. Never before has it been more obvious of sugars deep dark secrets. But do we ever question the impact it is having on our youth? In order to keep up with marketing trends, companies have found new ways to include cartoon icons, colorful designs, and movie tie-ins. According to Nickelodeon Youth Monitor, kids spend fifty billion dollars annually on candy. The snacks, drinks, and even condiments that our children eat contain not just sugar, but also fake additives, colorings, and harmful preservatives. Sugar is bad, but more often than not, is the leading cause of most colds and flu symptoms. At the same time, with the fall season quickly upon us, it’s important to find out what we can do stop harming and start healing our children.
Although sugar is a child’s first choice for a snack, parents don’t realize the implications it is having on their health. Sugar lacks any real nutritional value. According to the 1973 Loma Linda University study, sugar directly impacts the immune response. Once sugars enter the bloodstream, Neutrophils -small white blood cells that protect us against common bacterial infections – were severely compromised. Neutrophils account for 58% of the average total white blood cell count. In addition, white blood cells have the amazing ability to kill bacteria, stave off allergic responses, recycle damaged cells, and keep foreign organisms in check. Without the proper protection and understanding of food choices, you’re body struggles to fight back.
And if that wasn’t enough, sugar even competes with vitamin C absorption – an essential nutrient for all human development. Dr. Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize in medicine winner, uncovered the ironic twist and stressed the importance of maintaining levels in the presence of glucose. Similarly, vitamin C increases levels of interferon, an antibody with a special coating, which deters viruses from maturing. Most kids are unaware of how they feel on foods, and also the impact it has on the future of their health. It’s important to include foods high in vitamin C such as dark green leafy vegetables – specifically kale, mustard green, and garden cress. If your child is resistant to such an idea, you can try mixing in fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, oregano, and cilantro to mask the initial look and feel.
When you eliminate unhealthy sugars from the diet, your body begins to heal faster, stress levels are reduced, insulin balances out, and inflammation is reduced. When it comes to sugar, food suppliers hide it under various aliases in the labeling, so avoid barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, turbinado, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup. Despite the fact that sugars hide primarily in sweets, the location of where you shop with your child at the supermarket plays a dramatic role in what ends up in your cart. As a result of their popularity, over 90% of the grocery store shelves are filled with processed foods. While picking foods that are low in sugar is vital step, make sure you stick to the outside aisles where most of the healthiest food choices hangout at.
Although there is no question kids eating habits and interests are not easily swayed, we need to make sure they have healthy fuel for daily tasks including, school programs, physical activities, positive mood, and lasting energy, and more importantly, a healthy immune response.