Why do children like sweet sweets

"Our children always want sweets!"

It is completely normal for children to love sweets. In terms of evolutionary history, we humans are on the sweet side! Breast milk already tastes slightly sweet due to the lactose it contains, and even the amniotic fluid in the womb has a sweet taste and is often drunk by babies.

A sugar-free diet protects against illness

Unfortunately, sweets and the sugars they contain are “addictive”. We get used to the sweet taste very quickly and always need more to find it pleasant. Sugar is found in an infinite number of foods. If you look at the list of ingredients for various confectionery and sweet drinks, they often contain a large number of different sugars, with names that sound like sucrose, maltose or dextrose. All of them belong to the group of so-called “low molecular weight carbohydrates” which are quickly available to the body as an energy source, but which unfortunately contain nothing other than “empty calories”.
In addition to sugar, sweets often have a high fat content, as in chips or peanut flips. Pure “calorie bombs”! Those who eat a lot of sugar are more often affected by dental caries, obesity and the resulting diseases of civilization such as diabetes. Some kindergarten children already suffer from “type II diabetes”, which was formerly known as “old age sugar”. That is why it makes sense and is good to feed children sugar-free or low-sugar for as long as possible.

Avoid general prohibitions!

Handling sweets and snacks has to be learned. Here are a few tips:
> Explain to your children why they should eat sweet things in moderation.
> Avoid general prohibitions when handling sweets.
> Establish a “sweet weekly ration” together.
> Sweets are a great way to end a meal (brush your teeth afterwards!).
> Consciously plan desserts or a sweet snack in the afternoon, such as a piece of cake or biscuits.
> Fixed nibbling times increase enjoyment, because anticipation is the greatest joy.
> Regular meals prevent cravings for sweets.
> Pay attention to conscious enjoyment like snacking while sitting. This also contributes to better control.
> Be a role model.
> Only offer sweet drinks such as juices and lemonades on special occasions.
> Only stock up on sweet things in small quantities.
> Tell relatives and friends that you do not want sweets as gifts or souvenirs for your children.
> Offer attractive alternatives: trail mix, rice cakes, homemade popcorn, pretzel sticks, fruit skewers, raw food sticks ...
> An extra portion such as a handful of gummy bears (30 g) and a handful of chips (25 g) is enjoyment and something special!

Elke Decher is a qualified nutritionist and teaches nutrition, housekeeping and health and natural sciences at a vocational college.

This article first appeared in Family magazine.