Sugar or sweeteners, what do pediatricians recommend?

Good nutrition is key to the evolution of children. One is what you eat and in the case of the smallest there is no exception, so it is very important to know what is placed on the table and what ingredients make it up. Among these products, perhaps the sugar is the one that generates the most doubts among the parents. How much quantity should be contributed, can alternatives be used?

One of the alternatives to sugar are the sweeteners, another product that generates many doubts among parents to be an article with artificial origin in most cases. What is better to give a child, what is the most advisable for their nutrition? From the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, AEP, some clues are given about it.


What is a sweetener?

As has been said at the beginning, perhaps the sweeteners generate more doubts in the parents when presenting an artificial origin in most of the occasions. For that reason it is convenient to know a little more about these articles. From the AEP this product is defined as'food additive'that brings sweet flavor and that, usually, does not contribute or provides very little energy.

The AEP emphasizes that sweeteners are used to sweeten food, medicines and food supplements when pursuing non-nutritive purposes. A product that has increased its presence in homes in recent years for the control of body weight, obesity and diabetes and, in general, as coadjuvants to achieve an adequate energy balance.


What should be given to the child

The pediatricians of this organization emphasize in the first place that the consumption of an article does not mean leaving aside the other. Sugar and sweeteners are perfectly complementary in a diet, as long as they follow the recommendations of nutritionists regarding their consumption. Experts also point out that a greater presence of sweeteners does not mean less caloric intake.

It is true that the sweetener has a lower amount of calories, but the feeling of not taking these can cause the individual to increase the consumption of others. In addition, nutritionists They emphasize that a sugar intake less than 10% of the total caloric value of the diet, trying to make these part of a healthy diet.


Intake that covers all aspects of the diet, including in that percentage sugary drinks, cakes, sweets, sweets and products that include this ingredient among its components. Regarding the use of sweeteners, specialists point out that the natural origin of the sweetener does not imply greater safety or effectiveness. The use or non-use of these items will depend on the child's body.

There is a wide range of sweeteners in the market and all of them with very diverse components. It will be necessary to stop to check the ingredients of these and see if there are any that could cause allergies in the smallest ones, this will depend on their use in the diet of the children or not.

Nutritionists also discourage the use of artificial sweeteners in infant formulas, formulas for continuation, cereals, baby food or dietetic foods for young children for special medical purposes, except when expressly indicated. Sugars such as sucrose or fructose may be added in limited quantities.

Damián Montero

Video: Sugar: What Are 'Added' Sugars?


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