Rainbow Pediatrics
Fayetteville Office
1327 Robeson St.
Fayetteville, NC 28305
(910) 486-5437
Fayetteville Office
341 S. McPherson Church Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28303
(910) 920-4428
Hope Mills Office
4469 S. Main St.
Hope Mills, NC 28348
(910) 426-5430
Raeford Office
142 Paraclete Dr.
Raeford, NC 28376
(910) 904-0404

How Your Child’s Sugar Cravings Are Making Them Sick

Does your child have a sweet tooth? Do their sugar cravings create issues with mealtime? If you’re trying to instill good health habits in them by encouraging them to play sports, eat their veggies, and drink water, then don’t let their desire to eat sweets undermine those efforts.

This year is already becoming a doozy in terms of sickness. And eating sugary foods can put your kids at a greater risk of getting sick. If you want to bolster their immune system, read on. 

Just like humans, viruses and bacteria need food to survive. And just like many of us, they love sugar. In fact, too much sugar in the system allows viruses and bacteria to multiply much faster. 

How Sugar Negatively Affects the Body

Our immune system is our body’s first line of defense in fighting microbes that can cause illness.  White blood cells are critical for fighting off infection. They eat microbes and destroy them. A study from the 1970s found that the ability to kill bacteria dropped significantly after different types of sugar were consumed. Eat sugar, and for the next five hours, the body will have a heck of a time fighting off illness. How much sugar is needed to impact the immune system? About 75 grams, which is three times what the average person should get in a day. A can of soda has about 40 grams of sugar. Even low-fat sweetened yogurt has about 47 grams of sugar. 

That may not sound like a big deal, but we have a lot of illnesses going around right now, and we must do everything we can to support the body’s ability to fight back.

What is Bad Sugar?

Refined sugar and simple carbohydrates most negatively impact the immune system’s ability to function correctly. This doesn’t mean that your sweet-craving kiddo can’t have sweets. It is just essential for parents and caregivers to be more conscious of reading labels and identifying the right and wrong types of sugar. It is also crucial that parents put limits in place for candy consumption. Moderation is key. And we’re saying this on the tails of a Halloween candy frenzy. We know it is tough to get kids to be mindful of eating sweets, but you can teach them and limit what products come into the home. 

The average American consumes 150 lbs of sugar a year. This equates to 1 cup of sugar per day. Even if you don’t eat sweets, sugar is added to foods to make them taste better. To keep your family healthy, read labels to identify hidden sugars. 

  • Watch out for fat-free products as they are often loaded with sugar.
  • Read the ingredients list on products and see where sugar falls in the list. Ingredients listed at the top have the most significant quantity in the product. 
  • Watch out for hidden sugar. Sugar can also be listed on labels as high fructose corn syrup, fructose, and brown sugar syrup. Sugar is sugar. Choose products with the lowest amount or no added sugar or sweetened with fruit juices.
  • Use natural sugars whenever possible. These include raw honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and raw sugar. Once your kids start consuming these products, their taste buds will change, and super sweet refined sugar will be too much. Won’t that be glorious?
  • Sweeten foods with fruit. For example, add a banana or applesauce to oatmeal to sweeten it. 
  • Stevia is an excellent option as it is made from herbs as opposed to being artificially created. 

You can optimize your family’s health by eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting fresh air, and drinking plenty of water to flush out the system. If you have concerns about your child’s sugar intake and sugar cravings, our Strong Kids Clinic is available to support you in your quest for better health. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Sanniya Nanda to learn how you can begin incorporating changes that will set your child up for a life of better health.