SMH published this article today about Australian sugar intake. The remarks that speak to me are firstly, that on average, Australian’s consume more sugar than we should. Secondly, we consume most of our sugar through liquid sugars: soft drinks and fruit juice.
We are so lucky to live in a country where we are largely healthy, with great quality of life. It’s hard to see why having a juice is such a big deal, but Australia is really behind on this, and, as parents, we get to be the drivers of change for future generations.
I always feel like the nutty hippy mama when all the other kids get juices and mine get water, but here’s why I do it.
Healthy habits are made as children. If water is the thing your kids get to satisfy thirst now, guess what they will reach for when thirsty throughout their lives? That’s really important because…
Excessive sugar is bad for you.
- It messes with your body’s insulin levels which is a direct cause of diabetes, heart disease, cancer.
- It is the major cause of obesity
- It causes tooth decay
- It causes liver disease
Sugar has NO essential nutrients, but fills you up. Having a juice before a nutritious lunch means your kids are less likely to eat their lunch.
Sugar has a massive effect on dopamine – it is HIGHLY addictive. This means you need more and more of it to continue to get the joy your mind and body expect from it. In a kid, this means a normal dinner just won’t satisfy and you’ll end up doing battle every night.
I am actually a pastry chef – I truly believe that treats are more than ok – but a soft drink, flavoured milk, or fruit juice is a treat to be enjoyed every now and then, in consideration with other treats we have.
It’s only a small change, but next time you are at the shops, save yourself some money and forgo the juices and soft drinks and come home for some water instead.
Water is absolutely perfect for school. Even “healthy” drinks like coconut water, nudie juices, even bottled kombuchas are pretty high in sugar and actually very low in anything healthy and are the sort of thing we should consider a treat and save for after our (hopefully more nutritious) meal.