A Call to Arms to Change your Child’s Diet
If you were to observe the conversations at playgroups across the country, inevitably you would stumble across a conversation about cravings while pregnant. I was guilty of craving sour foods whilst pregnant with Miss 5. War Head lollies and grapefruits were a regular part of my diet for nearly 8 months. With Master 3, I was a lot healthier because I craved avocado. The differences in these diets, coupled with other factors, certainly impacted my weight gain in these pregnancies. But I am sure we are all guilty of overindulging whilst pregnant. Perhaps you even used that old adage ‘baby wants it’ or ‘I can have two serves; one for me and one for baby’. But partaking in these indulgences on a regular basis can have detrimental implications for your baby as well as yourself.
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that a study in Canada found that consuming soft drinks whilst pregnant doubled the infant’s chances of becoming overweight. And the results were no different for the mothers who consumed diet soft drinks, as artificial sweeteners are just as harmful. They further noted that increased doses of the natural sugar fructose can impact on yours and your baby’s health. For clarification the increased doses are located in fruit concentrates, juices and syrups, not in a serving of fruit. Even consuming these higher doses of sugar whilst breastfeeding does impact your baby, as studies are now showing that fructose can be detected in breast milk. This is important to note because, evolutionarily speaking, babies bodies are not equipped to break down sugar.
Of course, we all know the obvious and most common risks associated with being overweight as adults are the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and higher blood pressure for example. But for a baby to be overweight the risks take on a more life-threatening implication. The scariest of which is that an overweight child has a greater risk of developing asthma or other breathing problems like sleep apnoea. Further, they can also develop the early symptoms of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder problems and liver failure  to name a few. Finally, if their obesity is left untreated they are at a greater risk of being overweight for life.
Obesity is reversible. And with early action, your child can be spared from a lifetime of health issues. Start by employing a more balanced 2 fruit, 5 vegetable daily diet. Make simple swaps like milk or water for fruit juice and rice cakes with cheese in the place of sugary biscuits. Basically, replace high sugar foods with nutrient-rich food.
With this being such an important issue we are perplexed as to why it is not being promoted more readily. The health defects associated with smoking whilst pregnant are widely known. It seems that this issue should also be promoted with the same vigour. Admittedly the Government has started to acknowledge it, by putting bans and regulations in place on advertising directly to children. But more needs to be done. So we are continuing the promotion here and we are imploring you to pay it forward.
Take this information with you to playgroups across the country and educate your fellow mothers about the health risks associated with a high sugar diet in children.
For more information on the impact of sugar on your family, please do not hesitate to contact KIDS. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.
References: Goran, M & Ventura, E (2017) Sugar Isn’t that Different to Smoking for Pregnant Women. [online]
Benioff Children’s Hospital (2007) Health Risks of Overweight Children. [online]