Kids love sugar.
A lot of adults seem to love giving it to them, too. (I’m looking at you, grandma.)
Sugar often makes kids happy, so it’s easy to forget that those tiny adults should only eat a fraction of the sugar adults eat per day.
While the World Health Organization strongly recommends that no more than 10 percent of daily calories come from what they call “free sugars”*, they state that further reduction to no more than 5 percent of daily calories would “provide further health benefits.”1
(FYI, many governments and health organizations worldwide have ignored the World Health Organization’s 10 percent figure, stating instead that 5 percent is the upper limit. In other words, they’re suggesting the less sugar, the better.)
FYI, there are four calories in each gram of sugar. If you take the 5 percent recommendation, this can range from 11.25 grams of sugar a day for a one-year-old to 25 grams of sugar a day for a 17-year-old … in other words, not that much. (Daily caloric needs vary by age, gender, and activity level. You can view specific caloric needs here.)
To give you an idea of how these numbers translate into food, a single twelve-ounce soda contains 36 grams of free sugars. Two Keebler Deluxe Soft n’ Chewy chocolate chip cookies contain 9 grams of free sugars.
Needless to say, those sugar grams can add up quickly for kids.
Even further, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children under the age of one should not consume any juice, even 100% pure juice. Kids aged 1 to 3 should consume no more than 4 ounces per day; ages 4 to 6 no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day; ages 7 to 18 no more than 8 ounces per day.2 (Read more about the problems with juice here.)
Teach kids that sugary treats are “sometimes foods”
You don’t need to teach your kids that sugar is a bad food that should be avoided at all costs, but rather that sugar is a “sometimes food” that they can enjoy in small quantities sometimes. If they have a cookie today, they can wait until tomorrow to eat a few pieces of candy. Give them—and get them excited about!—healthy alternatives, like these yummy sugar-free desserts.[thrive_leads id=’3046′]
Want to know how much sugar you should eat per day?
Check out this post.