Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day, so who has filled it with sugar and what can be done?
Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day because it gets your brain and metabolism going and suppresses the hunger hormone in your stomach so you won’t overeat at lunch. But “children in England consume half their recommended maximum daily intake of sugar at breakfast, and by the end of the day have had more than three times the healthy limit, according to research from Public Health England (PHE).”
The findings were from an analysis of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey conducted on families in Britain. Children consume the equivalent of 11 grams before they go to school each day, mainly in sugary cereals, drinks and spreads. Researchers also found that eight out of 10 parents believed their children’s breakfast was healthy. The World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided an upper limit on sugar intake because dietary sugar fries the liver and brain in children just like alcohol. There’s no biochemical action that requires it. Fructose is metabolized by the liver just like alcohol. That’s why some children get alcohol like diseases such as type-two diabetes and fatty liver disease. Sugared beverages are linked to behavioural problems in children similar to alcohol.
“Children have far too much sugar, and a lot of it is before their first lesson of the day,” said Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief nutritionist. The U.S. Environmental Working Group identified 17 breakfast cereals marketed to children that have over 50% of the calories from sugar, and 177 with at least 40% or more.
While the recommended maximum daily sugar intake is between 5 and 6 cubes of sugar, the study found that children consumed more than three times those quantities.
“When analyzing a number of breakfasts from families across England,” said Sara Stanner, science director at the British Nutrition Foundation, “we were concerned to see the high amount of free sugars and low amount of fibre in many of these.”
“We know a healthy breakfast can make an important contribution to children’s vitamin and mineral intakes…”
More than one if five children are overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to more than a third when they leave.
PHE is preparing an education campaign to raise awareness of health problems linked to excessive sugar intake, including an app called Be Food Smart to scan product barcodes that reads out how much sugar, saturated fat and salt they contain.
Nature Knows Best!