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08 Jul '17

How many sweets for my kids?

Posted by Sandra Sosa

It's not a secret, kids love sweets and candies and would eat them all day long, every single day, but most of parents are concerned about how many sweets should they allow their kids to eat in order to provide their offsprings a healthy diet.

To address such a delicate topic, first of all it's necessary to state the difference between candies and sweets.

Usually the term candy is used to mention those edibles manufactured with more than 80% sugar and additives with no other nutritional element and with a poor nutritional value. Candies usually are small sized and come in different flavors and colors, usually in convenience packs.

On the other hand, sweets are a mix of ingredients where sugar is less than 40% the dry weight and other ingredients such as flour, butter and milk are present. Sweets are a wide variety of edibles including cakes, cupcakes, cookies and overall all kind of pastries, filled or not.

Even when sweets are caloric bombs as well candies, they count with nutritional value and provides not only energy but also a small amount of proteins and fats, something important for a good nutrition.

With the aforementioned in mind, candies could be considered as "empty calories", while sweets may be part of a balanced diet.How many sweets a day are healthy?

Of course sweets are not able to provide all the necessary nutrients for a healthy diet even when they may contribute with a significant part of them, especially regarding carbohydrates, however their total contribution to the daily suggested intake should not be more than 20%, since other carbohydrates sources such pasta, bread, potatoes and other flour made edibles will also contribute to the total carbohydrate intake.

On this regard, one or two 100 g sweets servings a day is an average healthy recommendation for children and even when it could seem high for an adult, we must keep in mind that kids energy expenditure is high not only because they are moving around all day long but also because they're growing, something consuming a lot of energy.

The key is to include sweets on a daily balanced diet which must count also with vegetables, fruits, proteins (fish, meat, poultry, beans) and fats.

Sweets are not a risk but a need if they are taken properly on a healthy diet, while candies should be discouraged from daily intake, and being eaten just time to time, not only because they provide empty calories but also because of cavities prevention.

If your children are not overweight, they are growing according to what's expected and their diet include food from all groups, it's not necessary to be concerned about a couple of sweet servings a day, even if it's ice cream!

However if you are still concerned or would like to have a more detailed, professional advice, there's always the chance to search for a dietitian opinion.

At the end of the day remember, sweets are not bad themselves, the problem is when they are the main food source, so avoid excess.


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