Do you know a highly active child that seems to have an endless supply of energy? The behavior of these children can be frustrating and confusing. Parents may even fear that there is something “wrong” with their child. However, high levels of activity are typical of many children! Almost every child is very active in some circumstances, and some may fit this description more frequently than others.
These children do not necessarily have a disorder such as Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is also important to note that an inattentive
child doesn’t necessarily have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which is
similar to ADHD but without hyperactivity. In many cases, diet may be a major
factor in highly active children.
Linking sugar and other ingredients with very active behavior in children is a
theory which began in the early 1970s by Dr. Benjamin Feingold. Parents who
perceived that their children become more active after consuming sugar-filled
foods have since furthered this theory.
Five easy ways to reduce sugar consumption:
1. Swap out sugar-covered cereals with an item that has five ingredients
or less – and keep sugar fewer than 10g or less.
2. When you pack a lunch – focus on whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
3. Replace sugary sport drinks, soda, and juices with naturally-sweetened water, teas, or milk.
4. Skip the ice cream and serve icy snacks like homemade fruit sorbets and frozen bananas.
5. Switch out candies, cookies, and cakes with wholesome snacks and fruits (apples with peanut butter,
peaches and plain yogurt, whole wheat crackers and cheese etc.)
How you can calculate your sugar consumption?
One small cube of sugar is equal to four grams. Grab a box of cereal, a fruit juice, or a box of cookies from your refrigerator or pantry. Find the amount of sugar in grams in this item, and divide that number by four. The number you see is the amount of sugar cubes for just one serving of that item. Most often, we consume more than one serving and those sugar cubes quickly add up. This method will allow you to see exactly how much sugar you, or the small mouths you may feed, are consuming on a daily basis.
Want to learn more?
1. Recipes for kids: Have fun with healthy eating. Mayo Clinic. 2013.
2. The Feingold Overview. Feingold Association. 2013.
3. Smart Snacking. The Nemours Foundation. 2013.
4. Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2013.
5. Liquid Candy. Center for Science In The Public Interest. 2013.
rewritten with permission © Integrative Nutrition