In June this year, the Government published its child obesity strategy in order to tackle the huge ticking time bomb our kids are facing with regards to their health.
In the Prime Ministers opening statement she said “The health and well-being of our children critically determines their opportunities in life. Today, nothing threatens that more than childhood obesity.”
To repeat: NOTHING THREATENS A CHILDS OPPORTUNTIES IN LIFE MORE THAN OBESITY!!!
So, if your child is overweight there are lifelong consequences. The statistics show that 1 in 3 children leaving primary school are already overweight. That’s a lot of kids!!!
But what if your child is not overweight and seems otherwise healthy?
Let’s talk about the liver, skinny fat and the impact of a typical child’s diet.
When you eat a food containing refined sugars (table sugars, free sugars, added sugars) your liver has to process the fructose part of the sugar molecule. The liver is the ONLY place this can be done. The liver stores and produces sugar because we absolutely need the sugar molecule, glucose, to survive.
This life saving mechanism never intended for us to eat the way we now do, and it is THIS that seems to be causing us huge problems with our weight and health.
Now when the liver stores sugar it only has a small reserve (storage capacity) available. It is estimated that this is no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar for a child and 10 teaspoons for an adult. What happens once the liver has used its storage space is that the fructose is converted to fat. This takes place in the liver and the long-term result of this is fatty liver disease. It’s exactly the same process as alcohol.
The term ‘skinny fat’ is used to describe a person who appears slim on the outside but in fact has a build up of internal fats called visceral fat. This builds up around the liver & pancreas in the abdominal cavity.
It is THIS fat that we are now seeing in children.
This is the ticking time bomb.
Every time your child eats or drinks over the 5 teaspoons of refined sugar (sometimes call table or free sugars) their liver can handle they are building up visceral fat.
And this is why I get so upset about the amount of sugary foods and drinks targeted at kids, that sugar is called a treat, and this seems to be acceptable in todays society. In fact, even suggesting I take my kids off sugar for a month caused some people to say I was being unfair and cruel to my children during the school holidays!
I hope you can start to understand why I am so PASSIONATE about this.
Did you see my rant about slushie’s? SIX teaspoons of sugar in one serving!!!
This healthline article is extremely useful, and I advise you to watch the video.
During our month-long sugar fast (check out my facebook page for more info), we found out exactly how much sugar is added to everyday foods. Foods such as bread, crisps, stock cubes, soups, spreads, yoghurt, sauces, pickles, drinks, pesto etc. These are not even foods you would consider to be loaded with sugar. So even after taking away the sweets, ice-creams, biscuits and cakes it still meant that sugar was too high in our normal diet. [we will be posting up a conclusion to our sugar free month very soon]
So, to limit children to no more than 5 teaspoons a day actually takes careful attention. You need to know how to avoid those brands high in sugar, how to make healthier alternatives, how to prepare and plan ahead, how to avoid the hidden sugar and most importantly how to get the balance right (we don’t want to be in a position where we can never have cake on our birthday!!).
I can help you with this, see below.
The current problem is that the average intake for a child is 15 teaspoons a day. That’s a lot of regularly sugar that needs to be converted to fat!
TICK TICK BOOM!!!!