Sugar and Kids: How Much is Okay in a Day

PUBLISHED WITH ANMUM™ ESSENTIAL -- Too much sugar is not sweet for the health. Here are a few tips on how to make the right choices for our kids 😮


As parents, we try to raise our kids the best we can. And this includes ensuring that they grow up strong and healthy, which we try to accomplish by giving them the right foods, keeping them on a healthy diet, and minimising “not so good” or unhealthy food.

And one of such foods that have to be kept at a minimum from kids’ diets is sweets or added sugar. As kids, even our parents kept us away from it for a number of good reasons — tooth cavities and tummy aches among them. Now, sugar is getting the blame for more serious health consequences. Studies show that consuming too much sugar might increase risks of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart disease. Sadly though, both adults and kids consume too much of it, sometimes unconsciously, as sugars are sometimes not that easily identifiable in the food our family consumes.

How much sugar is okay?

The World Health Organisation recommends that adults and kids reduce their daily intake of free sugar to less than 10% of their total energy intake and further reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake for better health outcome. This means kids can only consume in a day:

1-3 years old: 2-2.5tsp

4-6 years old: 3 tsp

7-9 years old: 4 tsp

At the same time, Malaysian Dietary Guideline (MDG) for Children and Adolescents 2013 recommends that children aged 2 to 6 should have no more than 3 teaspoons of added sugar per day.

What are added sugars?

All forms of sugar, when broken down by our bodies, serve one purpose: provide energy and fuel for our brains and bodies. However, the sugar’s source and the nutrient density of the food are also important. So here is where the difference between natural and added sugar lies:

Natural sugar: This is sugars found in nutrient-dense whole foods such as fruit or milk that occur naturally.

Added sugar: On the other hand, added sugar are those sugars that added to food and beverages when they are processed or prepared. These sugars found in chocolates, sweets, desserts, and a number of popular snack foods.

So the best way for our family to stay within the allowable limits of sugar consumed per day is to prioritise and serve whole foods most of the time over high-sugar processed and packaged foods. Whole foods include poultry, meat, fish, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.

However, this is easier said than done, considering that convenience and ease of preparation are also key. Because let’s admit it, some days we just want to quickly throw something together, eat, and sleep. So having said that, how do we choose and decide on the best food choices for our family? Here are a few tips:

Read the ingredients.

The first and easiest thing to do is to check the ingredients list of each food product. Also, take note that ingredients are listed based on how much is included — with the most listed as first, to the least listed as last. Since our goal is to minimise sugar, we should be wary if any of these ingredients are listed, as these are sugar:

Time to check your kid’s milk.

Kids need milk as part of their balanced and healthy diet, but did you know that while lactose is a natural sugar found in milk, if it’s listed in the ingredients then it can be considered an added sugar. So it’s best for us parents to check our kids’ milk.

Anmum Essential is the only formulated milk powder for children with NO added sugars* and yet has 100% goodness of milk. With Anmum Essential, your kids are going to get key nutrients without added sugars.

Too much sugar can lead to serious health issues. So it’s best to check those labels and make the right choices, mamas!

*Sucrose, Glucose Syrup Solid, Corn Syrup Solid, Brown Sugar, Dextrose, Lactose, Fructose, Honey and White Sugar are defined as ‘sugars’ and ‘added sugars’ under CODEX Standard 212-1999 and CAC/GL23-1997. CODEX develops harmonised international food standards guidelines and code of practices.

Under Malaysia Food Regulations 1985, Sucrose, Brown Sugar, Dextrose, Glucose, Fructose, Honey are defined as sweetening substances.

Under Australia New Zealand Food Standard Code – Standard 1.1.2, Glucose Syrup, Maltodextrin, and similar products are defined as ‘sugars’

**Compared to the previous formulation.

References: Malaysian Dietary Guidelines, WHO, BabyGourmet, Healthline 

*All content in this article should be taken as for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always seek the direct advice of a medical professional for any health issues or concerns.

*Published with Anmum™ Essential


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