How much is too much fruit for children?
Sugar is a bad word for most parents. And while we unanimously avoid giving processed sugar to our children, our relationship with natural sugar in fruits is more complicated.
So how is natural sugar different from processed sugar?
Sugar, in any form, converts into glucose in the body and is used for energy. The energy which helps our little heroes heave chaos in our world. But the health impact of each type of sugar on our body is different, determined by the speed of conversion into glucose and concentration.
The Glycemic index
GI ranks foods based on how they affect blood sugar levels. Most fruits are low to medium GI. They are digested slowly, causing a slower rise in blood sugar. Foods higher on the glycemic index like white bread or processed sugar are digested and absorbed by the body more quickly. So they can readily spike our blood sugar levels. These spikes in blood sugar levels are the leading cause of diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity.
A small bar of chocolate roughly has 16 grams of sugar, with minimal protein, vitamins, or fiber. The only thing you get is sugar and calories.
On the other hand, a small apple contains 8 grams of sugar, half that of chocolate, with lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.
Thus, compared to white sugar, fruit is a much better option for regular consumption because it has a lower GI and sugar concentration.
Berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries have a low concentration of natural sugar, while the highest concentration is found in dried fruits, bananas, and mangoes.
So, how much fruit is too much fruit?
Nutritionists recommend up to three servings of fruit a day for children.
Remember that the daily sugar allowance for 4-6-year-olds is 19 grams, and if they eat a small bar of chocolate, there’s significantly less room for them to have even a fruit! The excess sugar gets stored in their fat cells or adipocytes.
We hope this was useful. If you want more nutrition tips, read our other blog posts! Here’s to always bringing our best to our children!