Health & Wellness

Parent Edition | 11th Annual | 2014

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Page 9 of 79

8 Not all sugar is bad, and it does serve a function. Sugar provides the body energy. However, just as Jimenez is teaching her son, medical professionals are urging adults and children to cut back on their sugar consumption – especially the "added sugars" abundant in such sweetened beverages as sodas, juices, and sports drinks and in processed foods, such as cereals and snacks. Even sugars added at home, both natural and artificial, should be pared. Most of these sugary foods are considered nutrient deficient or "empty calories." Yet, they are consumed in mass, contributing to sugar addiction and related health problems, says Suzanne Farrell, a registered dietician with Cherry Creek Nutrition. HoW mucH is too mucH? The American Heart Association recommends most adults limit their "added sugar" to no more than six to nine teaspoons a day. As of March, the World Health Organization even lowered its recommendation for most adults to just six teaspoons a day. No specific recommendation exists for children, but health professionals suggest a range from three teaspoons a day for a 4-year-old to five to eight teaspoons for teenagers. by Andrea Juarez T h e L o w d o w n o n Four-year-old Joaquin Jimenez picks up a juice box at the store, turns it over and pretends to read the label. "Mommy, this has too much sugar, so we can't have it," he says, mimicking his mother, Celestina Jimenez. "He's learning it's not a free for all with his diet," his mom tells an observer.

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