Nutritionists have observed that simply cutting sugar intake drastically improved the metabolic function among children in only two weeks. These results were published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) and ends with a call for parents to take a stronger stance on their children’s diet. Authors of the nutritional review revealed that this straightforward reduction in processed sugar, particularly fructose, minimized fat synthesis in the liver. This in turn lessened the child’s risk of developing debilitating diseases such as fatty liver disease and type-2 diabetes.
These conclusions were made after conducting carefully-controlled experiments which involved determining the relationship between fructose and metabolic function. Researchers chose high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as their control variable, as this is normally the additive sugar found in many processed foods. They found that this specific sugar accelerated the conversion of energy to fat. To compare, glucose (which is the sugar found in cereals, vegetables, and fruits) is 20 percent metabolized in the liver and 80 percent in the entire body. Fructose, on the other hand (found in sugary drinks and in “healthy” salad dressings), is 90 percent metabolized in the liver. The simple sugar was even noted to convert to fat 18.9 times faster than glucose.
HFCS is used in around 75 percent of all packaged foods and drinks because of it’s affordability and taste. Fructose is 20 times sweeter than raw sugar.
But sweetness is as sweetness does. The sugar disrupts basic body function and stimulates cells, or more specifically, the metabolic pathways, to liberate the energy from the sugar and immediately store it as fat. More dangerously, due to the rapid conversion, the body does not even register that it has eaten. People can often eat huge amounts of fructose and still be hungry.
Dr. Tyree Winters, an osteopathic pediatrician wrote in the study, “many young patients tell me they’re always hungry, which makes sense because what they’re eating isn’t helping their bodies function.”
“If we cut out the HFCS and make way for food that the body can properly metabolize, the hunger and sugar cravings fade. At the same time, patients are getting healthier without dieting or counting calories. This one change has the potential to prevent serious diseases and help restore health,” said Dr. Winters
While the change can be daunting for a lot of children (particularly due to sugar also building an addictive mentality in the brain), researchers say that it only takes fourteen days to see an impact.
Junk food babies?
Blame it on convenience or what have you, but more parents are turning to pre-packaged, processed food to feed their children. This can become very dangerous, as is the probability that we are raising the first generation in history that may not outlive its parents. Children no longer toddle, they waddle.
It has become even more crucial that parents make the extra effort to raise their children in a healthy eating environment. Thankfully, the transition can be made easier with these tips:
- Mama say, mama do – The best way to teach your children how to eat better is to lead by example. Children tend to parrot their parents and are more likely to reach for that carrot stick if their mommy or daddy love eating them too. Simply saying “Because I said so!” is not a very effective tactic.
- Start slow – For parents who have already introduced their child to junk food and want to be healthier, they can start small. Try incorporating more green things into meals. Listen to what your child says and notice which fruits or vegetables they like. Variety is key here as well. Children tend to eat more colorful food so this is a great way to use many different food items.
- Stock up on the good stuff – When children want a snack, offer them a vegetable or a fruit. Fill your kitchen with healthy food so children have no choice but to eat it. Eventually they will get used to these snacks and may even start enjoying it.
Parents should not feel disheartened if their children don’t initially take to the healthier change, but they must remain vigilant about creating a healthy and more vibrant future for their kids.