The Government health body says ‘Limit children’s snacks to 100 calories’.
Half of the sugar young children in England consume comes from unhealthy snacks and sweet drinks, figures show. On average, primary school children have at least three sugary snacks a day, Public Health England found. This means they can easily consume three times more sugar than the recommended maximum.
The underlying message in the health report aims to reduce obesity in children. To do that children should be eating natural, unprocessed food as processed food contains hidden calories in the form of sugar and trans fats. Processed food and sugar also damages their microbiome (gut bacteria) resulting in further sugar and processed food cravings. There are mixed messages out there such as, go low fat, go no fat, go sugar free go fat free. So here is what to and not to do…
Do NOT opt for low fat or sugar free options, for two main reasons:
1. The sugar in sugar free options is more often than not replaced with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which are highly neurotoxic.
2. Low fat options often contain either more sugar, sweetener or both.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Natural sweeteners – Try making your own snacks using natural sweeteners such as honey, date syrup or maple syrup.
Choose good quality fats – full fat bio-live yoghurt, avocado, nuts, oily fish, quality animal meats, coconut oil. Your child’s brain is 60% fat and all their tiny cells are made of a fatty cell membrane. Fats are crucial for proper brain functioning and cell signalling (sending messages between cells). The brain functions optimally on these good fats not the bad trans fats which are found in processed foods, cakes, pastries, crisps etc.
Support your child’s beneficial gut bacteria – the bad bacteria that may be residing in your child’s gut feeds off sugar. These bacteria send messages to the brain, via the Vagus nerve, to eat more sugar. Therefore, the more bad or ‘unfriendly’ bacteria, the more sugar cravings your child will have. What you need to do is kill off the bad bacteria by starving them of sugar. In theory, this is simple but in reality, it is a lot harder as sugar cravings can be so strong. The best way to start to do this is to introduce probiotic rich foods or supplements. Probiotics or ‘good’ bacteria live off undigested fibre (in the form of fruit and vegetables) as oppose to sugar and they therefore send a different message to the brain to eat more fibre and wholesome unprocessed foods. The good bacteria will proliferate and help to dampen down the bad bacteria reducing sugar cravings.
If you are worried about your child’s addiction to sweet foods or would just like to know some healthy alternatives then please contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07850897304