LHS Home > Family Health > Sugar Sleuths
Explorations for Parents and their Children
|Americans today eat thirty times more sugar than our ancestors
did 200 years ago! Work with your children to investigate your family's sugar consumption
habits. Develop a plan for reducing sugar in your diet.
4 grams = 1 teaspoon sugar
1 gram of sugar = 4 calories
You Will Need
- measuring teaspoon
- variety of cereals, beverages, and snacks
- several plastic zipper-locking bags
- about one cup of white granulated sugar
- "Less Sugar Please!" data sheet
|Where's the sugar?
Comparing the Amounts of Sugar
- Select several products that you commonly eat and compare
the grams of sugar per serving listed on the nutrition labels.
- Identify the product that is highest in sugar and the one
that is lowest in sugar. Arrange them in order of the most sugar to the least sugar.
- Record your findings on the "Less Sugar Please!"
- Use a measuring teaspoon to measure a quantity of sugar
equal to the amount of grams in one serving of the product with the greatest amount
Don't forget . . .
If you and your children commonly use syrup or jelly with an item, be sure to
add this extra source of sugar by estimating the number
of teaspoons used.
Talking about your Findings
- Families report that measuring the teaspoons of sugar in
a product gives them a good picture of the amount of sugar and stimulates discussion
about product choices.
- Talk about ways to reduce the amount of sugar at meals.
- Make a list of your children's ideas. Help them develop
a plan for cutting back on sugar consumption.
Some youngsters have suggested keeping their favorite high sugar cereal but eating
it fewer times a week. Children also suggest trying out cereals that contain less
- Give your children the challenge of finding products with
- Encourage them to practice their math skills by comparing
prices as well as grams of sugar.
- Congratulate your children when they make a healthier choice.
Be a role model...
Children will be more willing to try low-sugar foods when their parents do so as
Show your children that you enjoy low-sugar foods. (Fresh fruit makes a healthy and
delicious compliment to low-sugar cereal!)
|More About Sugar
Sugar tastes great and your body
needs a constant supply, so why worry about high sugar foods? The issue is often
one of moderation. High sugar consumption is linked to tooth decay and obesity. Many
high sugar foods lack other nutrients that are essential for proper growth and development.
Nutritionists are recommending that we greatly reduce our consumption of processed
sugar to less than 10% of our diet. According to the US Department of Agriculture,
people consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat no more than about 10 teaspoons
of refined sugar/day. That's 40 grams or one soda!
Less Sugar Please! data sheet.