Would you give a glass of alcoholic drink for your little son? The answer will certainly be no. No parent would give alcohol to a child. Mainly because it is known to be toxic, it causes serious damage to the body and addiction. However, if you are in the habit of giving sweets, and filling your child's meals with sugar, it may be that you are doing the child great harm, without realizing it.
A study in the United Kingdom, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, showed that sugar consumed by little ones can do as much harm to the liver and brain as alcohol.
In this case, the liver metabolizes fructose, one of the sugar molecules, like alcohol, overloading the organ that has, among other functions, the job of eliminating toxins from the body.
It is becoming more common for children to suffer from adult problems, such as diabetes and liver disease. A study conducted in Italy evaluated 271 participants, with a mean age of 12.5 years, and who had sugary diets. The research found that 37.6% of them had non-alcoholic staatohepatitis (NASH), a disease that can cause irreversible damage, leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Among the main villains of excess sugar are industrialized foods. It is common for the industry to fill products with sugar, mainly in items intended for children. Plus, it's easy to mask sugar on labels, as there are at least 56 different names for that substance.
Products like yogurt, cereals and cookies can contain such a large amount of sugar that they extrapolate the daily needs of the child in just one meal. Fructose, mentioned in the studies, also exists in fruits, but it is not harmful, as it is accompanied by essential vitamins and minerals to the body and they are metabolized differently.
So be very careful what you put on your child's plate.
By Cyntia Ferreira
Original article (in Portuguese)