Source of Sugar For Children Is Very Critical For Obesity Than Quantity, Study Shows

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Research from the Netherlands suggests that the source of sugar consumed by children is more significant for obesity than the quantity. While sugar has long been associated with health issues like tooth decay, diabetes, and weight gain, not all types of sugar are equally harmful.

Children consuming sweetened snacks at risk of obesity

The study on childhood obesity challenges previous notions by suggesting that the total sugar intake during early childhood doesn’t significantly affect weight gain at age 10 or 11. Children who mainly consume sugar from sweet snacks like cakes, candies, sweetened milk, and chocolate milk are at a higher risk of obesity.

Research conducted by Junyang Zou from the University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen suggests that sugar from fruit is linked to lesser weight gain, while individuals who consume most of their sugar from unsweetened liquid dairy products like milk and buttermilk have lower chances of becoming overweight or obese. Zou emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between intrinsic sugars found naturally in foods like fruit and dairy and added sugars.

The study called GEKCO Drenthe tracked health and sugar intake of children born in Northern Netherlands between April 2006 and April 2007. Parents of 891 children filled out food questionnaires when their kids were three years old. Data from these questionnaires was used to calculate daily sugar intake from various food groups.

Natural sugars not linked to obesity

Nurses measured the height and weight of children aged three to 10/11 to calculate BMI Z-scores, which compare a child’s BMI to the average for their age and sex, indicating obesity risk. Out of 891 children, 817 were analyzed for weight status after excluding 74 who were already overweight or obese at age three.

Children consumed an average of 112 grams of sugar daily, accounting for 32% of their total daily energy intake. Main sugar sources included fruit, dairy, sugary drinks, and snacks. A study found that while total sugar intake at three years old wasn’t linked to later weight gain, high sugar consumption from snacks correlated with higher BMI Z-scores at age 11.

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