Ice cream, birthday cake and cookies are typical treats in our kids’ diets, but did you know that 16 percent of children and teens’ daily calories come from added sugar?
It’s no surprise that too much sugar can cause tooth decay, hyperactivity and increase the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Yet experts say parents have no idea that all that sugar can also cause other chronic— albeit avoidable —health problems.
Cold, cough and allergies
One of the most common effects sugar can have on children are cold-like symptoms, said Dr. Julie L. Wei, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla. Wei said many of her patients complain of chronic runny noses, excessive mucus, cough and symptoms of sinus infections.
Some kids are even diagnosed with allergies, without having any formal testing. They’re prescribed medication but their symptoms may actually be due to too much sugar.
“If we get rid of the symptoms, kids won’t need the medicine,” Wei said.
Croup and acid reflux
Some children even have recurrent episodes of what looks like croup. These children go to bed seemingly healthy, but wake up during the night with a barking cough and trouble breathing.