Too Much Sugar this Holiday Season Could Have Negative Consequences for Young Minds

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‘Tis the season for sugar, which has many children overdoing it on sweet treats. Life Science Nutritionals wants to remind parents that recent studies show that too much sugar impairs cognitive function, memory and behavior in children, whose brains are still developing.

IronKids Omega 3 Gummy Vitamins

IronKids Omega 3 Gummy Vitamins

It’s easy to fall into the ‘Because it’s a special occasion’ trap at this time of year. What parents don’t realize is that the special occasion season starts at Halloween and doesn’t end until Easter. That adds up to a lot of extra sugar.

From Halloween to Easter, kids are bombarded with sugar in every imaginable festive form. On average, Canadians consume about 110 grams of sugar a day, or the equivalent of 26 teaspoons, in their regular eating routines.

Add to that an extra 21 grams of sugar for the special holiday ice cream, 5 grams per Christmas chocolate, 25 grams for the average chocolate bar, 19 grams for the vanilla pudding dessert and 19 grams for the hot chocolate to warm up after skating, and you can see why it becomes a problem.

“It’s easy to fall into the ‘Because it’s a special occasion’ trap at this time of year,” says Jackie McKenzie, registered dietician and LSN health consultant. “What parents don’t realize is that the special occasion season starts at Halloween and doesn’t end until Easter. That adds up to a lot of extra sugar.”

The body requires a certain amount of sugar to function, but in excessive amounts it can lead to metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes, but what is the most alarming is the link between excessive sugar consumption and brain health, especially in children whose brains are developing.

Studies show that excessive sugar consumption impairs cognitive function, memory and behavior, prompting many parents concerned with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) to look to controlling sugar intake as a possible remedy.

“Sugar in itself isn’t bad for you,” reminds McKenzie who believes in moderation when it comes to added sugars. “What parents should be concerned about are added sugars in foods that have no other nutritional value, like a lot of the empty calorie foods we see at this time of year.”

Thankfully, studies show that Omega 3 can actually counteract the negative effects of sugar on brain health and cognition. Deemed an essential fatty acid because the body cannot produce it and therefore, must acquire it from outside sources, Omega 3 plays a key role in normal brain functioning and development.

One such study showed that school-aged children with low blood concentrations of Omega 3 scored lower on standardized tests for reading ability and working memory than children with adequate levels. Another study showed that Omega 3 supplements were able to counter the negative effects of sugar on cognition.

“We still don’t recommend overdoing it on sugar as it has many other negative health affects besides on the brain,” warns McKenzie who recommends parents stick with healthy snacks. “If you are going to give your kids a treat, make those sweets count and give them fresh fruit or gummy vitamins that have other nutritional benefits.”

The World Health Organization recommends a daily maximum of 10% of calories from added sugars. For young, school-aged children, for example, that roughly translates to 40 grams of sugar (or the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of added sugar).

Thankfully, IronKids Gummy Vitamins for kids contain only 1.5 grams of sugar per gummy. Plus the all-natural, fruit-flavored gummies are packed full of the vitamins kids need for their growing bodies and nothing else – no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

About Life Science Nutritionals

Founded in 2005 by health and nutrition expert, Stuart Lowther, Life Science Nutritionals specializes the manufacture of premium quality gummy vitamins for kids and adults, under the trade names IronKids and Adult Essentials.

Life Science Nutritionals is Canada’s leader in gummy vitamin manufacturing, sales and distribution, winning numerous consumer and parent choice awards, including the Best New Product Award and the Parent Tested, Parent Approved Award.

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Deborah Lowther
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