Children with Candy Hearts

Most parents believe they’re offering their family wholesome foods, when in fact sugar is the main attraction. Britney’s family eats more whole foods than most. So, she didn’t think they ate a lot of sugar.

It wasn’t until a health concern that Britney decided to eliminate all sugar from their family’s diet. Removing sugar isn’t as easy as Britney first thought.

Processed Foods Contain Sugar
Sure, sugar is a major ingredient in soda, kids’ cereals and treats, but it hides in most every processed food.

We believe candy equals love, but it means heart disease.

It’s a major component found in ketchup, it’s found in most canned and boxed foods, it’s added to beverages, even vitamin drinks. Sugar is a chameleon hiding under numerous names (Click Here for various names for sugar). Britney had no idea how prevalent sugar was in her diet, until she began to read nutrition labels.

Heart Health
We assoicate sugar, especially candy, with love, never thinking that it will increase the risk of heart disease. It’s been drilled into our collective conscience that saturated fats are bad for heart health. However, a new study published in Circulation found that teenagers, who consume large amounts of sugary foods and drinks, are more likely to have risk factors for heart disease.

The study authors examined the sugar-consuming habits of 2,157 teens. The teens participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2004. Among the participants, daily consumption of added sugars averaged 21.4 percent of total energy. The results of the study indicated that the more added sugar teenagers consumed, the more significant was the association with factors known to increase cardiovascular disease risk. For example, the higher the intake of added sugars, the lower the mean high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. Added sugars also were linked with levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides.

Sugar Caramelizes the Heart
What’s that? Sugar caramelizes the heart!!! A lot of attention is given to the effects of saturated fast on the heart. Little attention is paid to the consequences of consuming sugar. Caramelizing is good when browning sugars while cooking, it’s not so good for your heart. One of sugar’s most destructive effects on the heart is its tendency to encourage the formation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) in the body. AGEs are the final product of a series of complex rearrangements. AGE formation in the body results from the same process that caramelizes sugar when it’s cooked.

Sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks, are the largest contributor to added sugar intake in the U.S. The use of added sweeteners containing fructose (sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) has increased by 25 percent over the past thirty years. Now it appears not only is obesity a problem when consuming sweetened drinks, but cardiovascular disease as well.

The study found teens who consume large amounts of sugar are more likely to have risk factors for heart disease. Fifty-six percent of 8-year-olds drink soda every day. The way to avoid having teens who consume too much sugar, is to limit sugar intake while they are young.

Parents are responsible for teaching their children how to appreciate whole foods. Parents purchase the food their kids eat. If sugar is limited, kids won’t grow up drinking soda and eating sugar loaded foods. It’s up to parents to set the tone in the home and what you do now will impact your kids’ health for the rest of their lives.

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