Sometimes we think it’s too late to change, or that we need a big dramatic do-over to see a real impact. Well new research has found that all you, or your children, may need is 10 days.
A recent study sought to see the effects of lowering the sugar intake of children. The group of 43 children went from 25% dietary sugar to 10% in 10 days. The calorie intake was kept the same, sugar was just swapped out for carbs. The results were impressive with a 5 point reduction in bad cholesterol, a 33 point reduction in triglycerides, normalized insulin and blood sugar, and a reduced risk of diabetes.
With results like that it’s reassuring to know such a significant change can occur in just 10 days. So how can you implement changes in your own home to get results similar to these? Below are 6 ways to improve the health of your children (and maybe yourself) in just 10 days.
Cut Sugar to 10% of Your Calories
This is without a doubt the most important step. The average American consumes more than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of sugar. The World Health Organization caps out their sugar high at 10%, but says lower is better. The FDA recently lowered its recommendation for children to 25 grams of sugar a day. Lowering the amount sugar your children consume sets them up for better health overall. Sugar ages us faster, shortens our lifespans, promotes cancer, damages the liver and decreases cognitive health. It’s not something we want our kids consuming without limits.
Swap Fructose for Fruit
Yes, fruit has fructose, but that’s far different from the fructose that’s in sugary drinks and sweets. In America, the majority of fructose comes from high fructose corn syrup. By giving your child fresh fruit as an alternative you’re helping to lower their added sugar intake as well as eliminating harmful fructose. Why is this fructose bad? The body can’t metabolize it the same way it does glucose. The message to the body is different too. Fructose has been shown to not suppress ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. This leads to a continued feeling of hunger, and sometimes another sweet craving. It’s a proven cycle for obesity.
Avoid Foods that Have Commercials
If a food has a commercial, generally it’s made to make money, not to make you healthy. Junk food marketing to kids is a huge industry, and it undermines parents who are trying to make the right decisions for their family. Billions of dollars are spent marketing food to children each year, but if you avoid the hype, and opt for whole foods and foods without all the added sugar you’ll be better off.
No Soda of Sugary Drinks
You’d think this one would go without saying considering one soda contains the daily recommended amount of sugar. But sugar is only one of the reasons to never let your kids drink soda, bad behavior, weak bones, disease are some of the others. These sugary drinks are the definition of empty calories, leaving you unsatisfied and craving more. Don’t think opting for a calorie-free option is any better. Diet soda is just as toxic, if not more so. It makes you fatter, it makes real sugar less satisfying, and it’s essentially killing you.
Sure, juice is better than soda but it’s still loaded with sugar. Fresh fruit is a much better choice. The fiber from a piece of fruit helps slows the absorption of sugar, which in turn reduces the blood sugar spike that can come from drinking juice. Not to mention a glass of orange juice is equivalent to two oranges when it come to calories, yet leaves you feeling less full than if you ate an orange.
Skip the Cereal
It’s best to leave the juice off the breakfast table, and maybe the same goes for cereal. Kid’s cereals are essentially vitamin fortified sugar, containing an average of 40% more sugar than adult cereals. If you start the day off nearly at the RDA of sugar it’s harder to stay within a healthy range the rest of the day.
If you make these changes and monitor the amount of sugar in your family’s diet, you can experience a dramatic change in their overall health in a short period of time, just as the children in the study. There is no reason to believe these results are specific just to children, so reduce you sugar and improve your own health too.