Should young kids have sweets in between meals? I don’t think so!

Breakfast time has already been over for quite a while and the children slowly start to get hungry again. But giving in to their demands for sweets, chocolate, biscuits or sugary juices now, would start a circulus vitiosus: within a short time the sugar would be resorbed by the intestine increasing the blood sugar level which, due to the physiological regulation, leads to a complete loss of appetite by lunch time. As a result the children pick only half-heartedly at their first portion of food, leaving the rest untouched altogether. The children take no culinary pleasure in their meal at all, they are not able to finish off their plate, leaving their parents to laboriously cajole their children spoon by spoon into eating by inventing all sorts of stories. But the small portion that has finally been eaten does not satisfy the children for very long and soon after the meal their hunger returns and they again resort to sugary delicacies.

If eaten outside of principal meals, goodies interfere with a balanced healthy diet. Sometimes they can even be dangerous for kids (and adults)! Sweets are supposed to increase the zest for life, but consumed untimely they cause eating disorders, tooth damage, addiction and even fatal accidents. In any case, their contribution to a person’s daily requirement of calories is not an adequate alternative for qualified foods.

Deficiency syndromes manifest themselves only in extreme cases, but obesity represents one of the most frequent consequences of thoughtless sweet-eating – caused by an excess of carbohydrates. A second consequence of such a vice is bad teeth: if they have enough time to react, fruit acids from sweets or juices affect tooth enamel. Under the plaque that has been left by pretzel sticks, potato chips and chocolate cookies that is unable to be completely removed even by the good ptyalin secreted from the parotid gland (contrary to the doctrine, ptyalin is probably if anything having the function of an enzymatical tooth brush than helping to assimilate bread and spaghetti) giving the causative agent of dental caries ideal living conditions. Protected by the starchy layer on the enamel and consequently well fed with nutriments, streptococcus mutans et al. quickly proliferate into a powerful destructive armada driving our children straight into the arms of dentists.

The addictive potential of sweet-eating should not be underestimated either: some kids cannot concentrate on their games or homework because they are craving for sweet things every half hour. In due time some of these kids will change over to harder drugs: e.g. alcohol or other intoxicants, with luck, but nevertheless not as harmless as commonly thought, nicotine. In the latter case, they are forced to think of smoking all day, permanently driven by signals from the subconscious mind to light a new cigarette – should or shouldn’t I? I‘ve just lit one. Oh, never mind… From an early age they have been constantly distracted from their activities – they are prisoners of their oral disorder. Even worse are people who have specialised in smoking pipes, who won’t get around to anything because they are constantly busy with preparing their next pipe. A wise staff manager would never offer them a position, although pipe smoke is the most pleasant of all.

By the way, many children have choked because, during play, the respiratory tract has become obstructed by candy. Therefore, children having a sweet tooth should at least sit down at the table when they enjoy goodies. This also prevents them from smearing the flat with sticky fingers and asking for fruit drops or toffees too often.

Hence should children be forbidden to have sweets at all? The answer is a decisive NO again! They may have as much juice, chocolate and sweet stuff as they want, but only at the right time: children must be given three principal meals a day – the servings should be manageable to avoid that our little gourmets give up immediately. They can always have a second helping if they desire more. During meals children should have water and not sugary drinks because the latter suppress the appetite and should therefore be drunk only after meals. The next course should be salad and fruits, and after all this, kids who have eaten up may have as much chocolate or sugar as they wish (but only at the table). At this time, their hunger is almost entirely satisfied and they won‘t greedily stuff down too many sweets. After the meal children should brush their teeth. In between principal meals, in the mornings and afternoons, kids should be given a healthy snack (e.g. apples, bananas, cornflakes or yoghurt) to keep the glucose level at an acceptable level. This time the tooth brush can stay in its holder. If children are thirsty they should only have water or unsweetened tea. If they are asking for sweets they are told to wait until after the next main meal.

As soon as the children have gotten used to this regime, and provided that the parents also keep to these rules to some extent, the children won’t miss anything. They will play undisturbed without permanently begging for sweets (which, in a family with 3 children, can be quite tiresome). The flat and the car will stay free of coke or orange juice stains, the new sofa will not be covered in sticky lollipops or huge crumbs – and the nutritional scientists will be happy and praise us!

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