Sweets, fizzy drinks, ice lollies and ice cream, cakes… the list of foods and treats packed with sugar is almost never ending when it comes to what children enjoy eating. And have you noticed how children will eat and eat and eat until they feel sick? That’s not because they don’t know when to stop, but because of the addictive qualities of sugar.
Sugar sweetened foods are designed to make you want to eat more, and the more you eat the more you want. It’s hard enough for adults to cut the cravings, but for children it’s impossible: which is why 25% of children in Australia are now overweight or obese.
Children also know how bad excess sugar is for their teeth: even most five year olds understand that sugary foods cause tooth decay – for many children a tougher proposition than piling on the pounds. After all, which child wants to visit the dentist?
A healthy way to cut sugar cravings
By replacing added sugars, or sugar itself, with Stevia products, a child will benefit from the sweetness they desire without the intake of extra calories that convert to added weight.
Natural sweeteners like Stevia contain zero carbohydrates, zero calories, and have a zero glycaemic index. This last factor makes Stevia ideal for diabetes sufferers who require low glycaemic index foods. Studies such as those conducted by Alvarez have concluded that Stevia extract actually improves blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance.
So, while Stevia does not taste exactly like sugar it does taste good, does not produce the food addictive effects of sugar, has zero calories, and does not destroy teeth like natural and added sugars do. It’s also a natural product itself, so doesn’t have the added chemicals that disturb so many people when using artificial sweeteners.
How to use Stevia in a child’s diet
Dentists, doctors, and nutritionists suggest limiting a child’s sugar intake. Instead of sweetening hot and cold drinks with sugar, a few drops of Stevia in liquid form – or a couple of tablets - will work just as well. Stevia products may be used just as successfully in home baking as sugar or other sweeteners, and cut down on fat producing carbohydrates and calories.
You’ll find that sweet tooth can be satisfied without the ill effects of added sugars: your child’s health will benefit, as will their smile.