The National Parenting Center

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The Candy Myth

Sweets are not bad; they just need to be eaten in moderation. Most humans are born with a sweet tooth. We naturally seek out and enjoy sweets. What about side effects?

• First, tooth decay definitely increases with candy, but not if the teeth are brushed afterwards.

• Second, a high intake of refined sugar can cause a brief sugar withdrawal reaction a few hours later, which includes sweating, dizziness, and a little sleepiness. But it’s not harmful and can be relieved by eating some food.

There’s a good deal of misunderstanding about harm from sweets. Sweets do not cause hyperactivity, cancer, coronary artery disease, or diabetes, and fatty foods are twice as likely to cause obesity as sugars. What then to do?

If you try to eliminate desserts and candy from your child’s diet, you’ll create an unnecessary battleground. A sugar embargo is unattainable and it’s perceived as unfair. A much better approach is to set a good example by limiting what sweets you purchase, by not eating sweets for snacks, by brushing your teeth, and by serving balanced meals. And that balance meal does include dessert.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.


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