An increasing number of parents are trying to cut down on the amount of sugar that they give their children. However, this doesn’t mean that foods that are considered low-sugar or include sugar-free alternatives come highly recommended.
In contrast, many experts believe that some sweeteners may be just as harmful, if not more harmful than sugar. This is because many of them might increase a child’s risk of developing type-2 diabetes and may even lead to diabetes.
There are eight sugar alternatives approved by the FDA that have become ubiquitous over the past few years, with these being known as non-nutritive sweeteners. Despite the variety of these sugar alternatives, many parents may not know much about them.
As a result, quite a large number of parents might not know what their children are consuming. Alongside this, a significant amount of them may not realize whether or not they’ll be a high-quality alternative to sugar.
Given that the majority of people will want to know what their child may be consuming, there are a few things that they should know about these alternatives.
What Are Non-Nutritive Sweeteners?
According to many reports, at least one in four children have a non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners in their diet. Out of this, approximately 80% of them consume these sugar alternatives daily. Despite this, quite a large number of parents may not know what they are or which foods and drinks they’re in.
There are eight that have been approved by the FDA and are included in a variety of foods and beverages. These are:
- Saccharin: This is typically included in a large number of yoghurts, as well as low-sugar jelly. However, a variety of reports have suggested that this is best left avoided, as there’s a significant lack of research in how it can impact a person’s health long-term, especially with children. Out of the studies that have been conducted on the sweetener, there have been several ties associated between this and cancer-risk.
- Aspartame: Typically, this is found in a variety of diet sodas and a few other products. However, this is also a non-nutritive sweetener that’s better avoided, as there have been some reports that have highlighted links between it and cancer.
- Acesulfame potassium: This is a naturally occurring sugar that’s usually found in a variety of packaged fruits. Typically, this is one of the better-recommended sweeteners that you can give your children. It can also be found in some diet sodas.
- Sucralose: This is perhaps the most common non-nutritive sweetener that you can find and is used in quite a large number of products.
- Neotame: There are relatively few products that this is found in, with some of the more common being Sunny D, protein shakes, and a few types of bubble gum.
- Advantame: This is an Aspartame derivative that’s found in quite a large number of products. Some of the most notable of these include baking and cooking products, as well as a large number of beverages and beverage powders.
- Stevia: Stevia is one of the better-recommended options on the market, with it being placed on a variety of ‘safe’ lists by a variety of organizations, including the FDA, among others.
- Luo Han Guo/Monk Fruit: While this is generally recognized as safe, there has been a lack of testing and analysis done on it. As such, parents may not want to give it to their children in large doses.
While many parents may think that there’s been a large number of studies done on non-nutritive sweeteners, this isn’t the case. However, the studies that have been done have made a variety of discoveries. As a result, some of the sugar alternatives may be better-recommended than others.
Some of the more notable claims from studies have suggested that they may have an impact on taste preferences and appetite. Alongside this, some have been known to play a role in the gut microbiome and can affect a child’s metabolic system.
Despite this, quite a large number of parents may not know whether it’s in the food and drinks that their children may be consuming. However, there are a variety of recommendations about what parents should and shouldn’t give their children.
What To Give Your Kids
Quite a large number of parents may not know what to give their children instead of sugary foods. However, there are a few things that experts recommend trying, such as training a child’s palate to prefer foods that are less sweet. There are a variety of ways that this can be done, each of which has a range of benefits.
Despite this, quite a significant number of parents may not know what approach to take. One suggestion is to give them unsweetened fruit or diluted fruit juice. There are a variety of recommendations of what children should and shouldn’t have, especially when it comes to sugary drinks and foods.
Typically, a child shouldn’t have more than six teaspoons of sugar per day. Alongside this, it’s recommended that they have no more than eight ounces of sugary drinks during the week. Naturally, many parents may not know what they can use to limit this intake. As mentioned, unsweetened fruit and diluted fruit juice could be one of the more recommended options.
In many cases, you may be able to create your own fruit-infused drinks using water and whatever fruits you want. These can be much easier to make than you might think, which could be quite a significant advantage. Alongside this, there are a variety of foods that you should consider.
Some of the better-recommended options include minimally processed foods, as well as those that are high in protein. This consists of a variety of fruits, nuts, whole grains, and beans, among others. Typically, it’s suggested that you give your children foods that have as many of these ingredients as possible.
Alongside this, experts recommend minimizing the amount of artificially produced ingredients as possible. While this may take a while to introduce to a child’s diet, it can be quite beneficial. As a result, the approach could start slowly, although this will eventually begin to change as they start liking the foods.