Oh, so sweet…or Maybe Not? (Part 1)

Glenda Blaskey is Performance Nutritionist at the University of Houston Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. She is involved in nutrition education and program operations for all 17 athletic teams. Her daughter, Lauren, is a student in 101 here at South Shore Montessori.

We are thankful for her following contribution:

Most of us are aware that excessive sugar is not healthy for us or for our children and few (if any) of us would knowingly load our children’s diets up with it. What can be surprising is just how much sugar our children actually consume daily and how many foods it is found in. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service found that children aged 2-19 years consume an average of almost 25 teaspoons of added sugar each day. They also found that the average child under the age of 12 consumes approximately 49 pounds of sugar each year. Those numbers should certainly give us a case of sugar shock!
Sugar is not all bad, nor should it be avoided entirely. Many healthy foods like fruits, starchy vegetables and milk contain naturally occurring sugars. These foods are good for us and contain many important nutrients. However, these foods are not where the majority of our sugar intake is coming from. The foods that we should be concerned about are those that contain added sugars. Many processed and packaged food items today contain surprising quantities of sugar. Sure, we can all guess that powdered donuts and candy bars have a lot of added sugar. Unfortunately, sugar sneaks into many other food items such as yogurt, oatmeal and spaghetti sauce. This intake throughout the day often adds up to excessive levels. While there are no specific guidelines for added sugar intake in children, the American Heart Association recommends limiting intake of added sugars each day to no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. If these numbers are adjusted for age-appropriate calorie levels, children under the age of 12 should not consume more than 3-4 teaspoons (12-16 grams) of added sugar in a day and those age 13-18 years should limit consumption to no more than 5-8 teaspoons (20-32 grams) daily.

Since we follow a no sugar policy here at South Shore Montessori, this information is part of our daily thoughtfulness. Consider making some changes at home for your family’s nutrition. Mrs. Blaskey’s blog will continue… keep checking the website for Part 2.