By Rakhi Jayashankar:
Sugar, the name brings to mind, the picture of an old diabetic patient or an obese adult. Cutting down on sugar has always been associated with adults. But, of late, awareness has been generated among parents about the dangers of white sugar and the importance of alternatives in kids.
Side Effects of white sugar
1. Decreased immunity
2. Tooth Decay
3. Child Obesity
4. Heightened hyperactivity
5. Aggravates Eczema in kids
6. Worsens Asthma
7. Causes pediatric diabetes
8. Cause tooth decay
These are the common effects of sugar. There are many more to say. Sugar is one of the five white poisons to be avoided by kids and adults alike.
Dr. Reshmi Sachin, a Dentist, says, “sugar and cavities go hand in hand. But with moderation and care, we can prevent it.”
David Kessler’s book ‘End of Overeating’ has a detailed account of the same.
Alternatives of Sugar
There are numerous healthy and natural alternatives to sugar available. It is ideal not to use the store-bought sugar substitutes.
"Refined sugar is 8% more additive to cocaine. So better to avoid it and use natural substitutes." says, Dr.Anuja Lloyd, Ayurvedic Physician from Kochi.
The following are the 10 natural and healthy substitutes for sugar that you could give your kids.
1. Palm Sugar
Palm sugar is one of the most healthy alternatives for sugar. The key advantage of using palm sugar is that it is helpful in relieving chest congestion. If kids who are prone to chest congestion are given powdered palm sugar regularly, their chances of infection reduce largely. It also helps in developing muscle strength and maintaining electrolyte levels in your blood. In a survey that was conducted among mothers, 65% of them said that they give palm sugar to their kids.
Honey would be the favorite choice of kids. More than the likeability, the capability to treat cough makes it all the more enticing for kids and parents alike. Honey has proven to be helpful in curing diarrhea in kids. Honey also gives energy to the kids when compared to white sugar.
Jaggery is the second most recommended alternative for Sugar. Jaggery is high in Potassium and iron. It helps in preventing water retention. Its slow absorption makes it ideal for kids with pediatric diabetes. It improves immunity and prevents childhood obesity. It is sweeter than palm sugar and honey. The disadvantage of jaggery is that it could contain impurities, which should be removed by melting and filtering the jaggery. The natural jaggery powder from Slurrp Farm is one the trusted sources from where we could get pure jaggery.
4. Fruit Pulp
Fruit pulps are rich in dietary fibers. They have a sweetening effect as well as helps in bowel development. It is ideal to use fruit pulp rather than using fruit juices as the juices are devoid of fibers.
5. Raisin Syrup
Soak a bunch of raisins overnight in a glass of water. Next morning, squeeze the water off the raisins. The resultant syrup is one of the healthiest and tastiest alternatives for sugar. Raisins are the best for kids with low HB.
6. Coconut sugar
This is one of the less known alternatives for sugar. It is mostly helpful in baking, preparing sauces and drinks. The thick form of coconut sugar is called coconut nectar. Though it is made of coconut sap, it doesn’t taste like coconut at all.
Stevia is a herb. The sweetness of the herb makes it an ideal alternative for sugar. It should be chemically extracted. It is best used in smoothies, milk, juices etc.
8. Date Sugar
Dates are dried and powdered to make date sugar. One of the disadvantages of date sugar is that it doesn’t dissolve well. It could be used instead of brown sugar.
Molasses is another natural substitute for sugar that could be used while cooking food for your kids. It is a brown colored liquid that is extracted upon boiling sugarcane juices. It is primarily used as a substitute for brown sugar.
10. Banana Powder
Banana powder is a boon to parents with underweight kids. It helps in weight gain without any side effects. It is rich in magnesium and potassium. Slurrp Farm has a range of products with banana powder and also pure banana powder. It is a perfect combination of ‘healthy and tasty.’
We cannot put our kids in a completely sugar free environment. But with these alternatives, we can reduce the adverse effects of white sugar.
About the author: Rakhi Jayashankar is a blogger, author, book reviewer, and a mother. After her masters in Biotechnology and Business Administration, she decided to follow her call of passion through her blogs while being a part of the family business. With three kids, she had experienced the sleepless nights not once but thrice and hence sharing her knowledge with the readers.