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How much sugar is too much?

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
sugar, snacks, toddler food, baby food

Easter is over and we've all eaten lots of chocolate so I thought a look at sugar in a childs' diet was timely!

Now I have a confession! I have a notoriously sweet tooth which I am trying really hard to wean myself off. Stopping sugar altogether is not my aim just a sensible cut down. I've purged the house to reduce temptation. But I shan't be stopping eating chocolate. Oh no I believe everyone needs good quality chocolate, even children.

You may remember I was reading a book called "French Children don't throw food". I'm still reading it. It's full of such good stuff, that this book needs a very leisurely approach. I'm starting to wish I was brought up in France. Children in France apparently, regularly eat a chocolate sandwich. Its not Nutella or any other chocolate spread but a real live chocolate bar in a baguette. Ooh la la. Now we're talking. They call it a ' le gouter' (''luh goo-TAY'').

Those of you who know me may recall that I'm not a fan of children having snacks and we Australian's have become a very snack orientated society. We bring out the dips and crackers, sultana or raisin packets for the kids, muesli bars, etc. etc.

Children don't need lots of snacks and it affects intake of good nutrition at mealtimes. But I do think totally banning lollies/sweeties and things like cake and biscuits full stop is not healthy either. It needs an occasional approach. If we ban things it may lead to binge eating on unhealthy foods later in life. Being denied things can lead to craving.


So how much sugar is in most foods? How do you know if it is too much?

OK, this involves reading the back of food packaging and you look at carbohydrates and sugars. A sugar cube equivalent is 4g of sugar. Sometimes sugar is hidden in the ingredients via fruit juice. If its fructose that's a natural fruit sugar. If it's glucose or sucrose they are added sugars. If it's lactose that's a milk sugar.

Some baby foods can have up to 20g of sugar, especially things like banana custard. Cereals can have a lot of added sugar in them. Weetbix can be a healthy option and each Weetbix biscuit has 1.1g of sugar in each 33g serving. Weetbix kids has 0.9g sugar in each 30g serving. It also has as much iron per serving as a serving of red meat. Bellamy's baby rice has a very tiny amount of sugar, 0.02g per serving whereas Bellamy's baby porridge has 0.75g of sugar per 10g of dry product.

The NHMRC recommend limiting foods containing added sugars and in particular to limit sugar-sweetened drinks.
"All previous Australian dietary guidelines have recommended restricting added sugars. There has been little change in the evidence linking added sugars with dental caries, but the targeted literature review found strengthened evidence for a relationship between sugar-sweetened drinks and excess weight gain."

If we look at soft drinks like coca cola, each glass of 330ml has 39g of added sugar. Orange juice typically has 26g sugar in each 250mls whereas milk shakes and smoothies can have as many as 30g per 250mls.

So if we keep away from drinks with added sugars and encourage drinking water, the occasional bit of good quality plain chocolate isn't going to cause much of an issue.

Mayvers healthy Nutella equivalent

And if you're looking for a healthy no sugar version of Nutella.

Here it is or voila as the French say.

Hallelujah for healthy nut and cocoa spread from Mayvers.

And it's dairy free, another hallelujah from moi.

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