As a mum of a young toddler there is always something to worry about – a constant stream of concern. Are they playing outside enough, are they learning appropriate social skills, are they sleeping properly? Another common concern for a lot of mums is about their child’s diet.
They’re a tricky kind, toddlers. Their newly found sense of adventure and independence can mean that mum and dad are left wondering whether their bodies are being fuelled by the right things; making sure they’re eating enough veggies and consuming enough calcium. Are they having too much sugar? Well, when it comes to sugar, not all sugars are the same, and it’s important to understand exactly what they are and why we should know the differences.
Sugar and the body.
Better Health Channel Victoria explains that sugar is a form of carbohydrate which the body breaks down and converts to glucose. Glucose is then used by the body as a form of energy, being transported through the blood to all the cells of the body. Our bodies need sugar, but too much of it (and the wrong kinds) may have a negative impact to our health, and the health of our toddlers.
Different kinds? Isn’t sugar, sugar?
Short answer, no. Not all sugars are the same.
Generally speaking, there are naturally occurring sugars and added sugars in our foods - and it’s the difference between the two which is what matters when talking about toddlers.
What is naturally occurring sugar v added sugar?
Naturally occurring sugars are sugars which funnily enough, occur naturally within our food. I’m talking about things like fruit, which contains fructose, and items like milk which have naturally occurring lactose. These foods also include other nutritional benefits.
Added sugars are those which don’t occur naturally in the food but are instead added during the processing or preparation of the food. This is done to make food more appealing, and it can also act as a preservative.