Nutrition: Many parents underestimate the sugar content of food

Nutrition: Many parents underestimate the sugar content of food

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Sugar levels in food are often underestimated
Many children consume far too much sugar. The problem is that there is a lot of hidden sugar in many food products. Most parents underestimate how much of the sweetener is actually in food. This has an impact on the health of your offspring.

High sugar consumption endangers health
Too much sugar makes you fat and sick - this has also been proven in numerous studies. It has long been known that high sugar consumption can lead to obesity, dental diseases or diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum of 50 grams of free sugar a day. On average, the Germans consume almost twice the amount. This also has to do with the hidden sugar in food.

Hidden sugar in convenience foods
Health experts repeatedly advocate lower sugar intake. Many Germans assume that they are reluctant to use the sweetener anyway.

A Forsa study by the AOK Baden-Württemberg showed that two thirds of the people in this country believe that they do not consume more than 50 grams of sugar a day, according to an audio report.

31 percent even thought it was even less. In reality, however, Germans consume 90 grams a day.

The problem is often the hidden sugar in finished foods. Many are not aware of how much of each is contained in the different products.

Potential risk factor for the development of overweight
As the health insurance company AOK reports, 92 percent of parents underestimate the sugar content in a commercially available 250-gram fruit yoghurt.

On average, they assume only four instead of the actual eleven sugar cubes in such a yoghurt mug. This misjudgment is noticeable in the children's health status.

Because the more parents underestimate the sugar content, the higher the children's body mass index (BMI). This is the result of a current scientific study by the Max Planck Institute for Educational Research in collaboration with the University of Mannheim.

"As a significant finding in the context of efforts to reduce sugar," Prof. Dr. Ralph Hertwig, director at the Max Planck Institute for Educational Research, the fact that "parents tend to underestimate the sugar in various foods".

Prof. Jutta Mata, health psychologist at the University of Mannheim, emphasized that "parents have a significant influence on their children's food choices and that frequent underestimation of sugar is a potential risk factor for the development of overweight children".

More and more fat children
Child obesity has increased significantly in recent years. 18 percent of eleven to 17 year olds are overweight or even obese.

The chairman of the AOK Federal Association, Martin Litsch, is therefore calling for much more effort from politicians and the food industry to effectively reduce sugar:

“We just need more transparency about hidden sugar. In order to make appropriate nutritional decisions, parents need to be able to estimate how much sugar is in food and beverages. But the food industry has been resisting layman-friendly food labeling for years. ”

In the meantime, she continues to process unnecessarily a lot of sugar in the products and advertise nationwide with targeted child marketing.

AOK launches sugar reduction campaign
The AOK is therefore launching a national sugar reduction campaign under the motto "sweet was yesterday": "We are well ahead in the European sugar ranking, and that can be a huge problem if we do not take countermeasures now."

With this opinion, the health insurance company is not alone, Litsch emphasized, which is why it would set up an alliance to reduce sugar with other partners in order to finally come to binding agreements and effective measures based on the example of Great Britain.

Dr. Dietrich Garlichs, managing director of the German Diabetes Society, which also wants to get involved in the campaign alliance, is critical of sugar consumption in this country:

"The strategy of politicians to appeal to the individual, to eat healthy and to avoid being overweight has remained ineffective," said the expert.

“Our environment has changed too massively: fast food and snacks are available around the clock on every corner. The industry spends a hundred times more advertising money on confectionery than on fruit and vegetables. ”

And: “Not even one percent of confectionery advertising is available for information and education. But while we easily accept the obligation to wear seat belts and helmets in traffic, we still find it difficult to defend ourselves against common diseases such as obesity and diabetes. ”

Declare war on unhealthy foods
AOK board member Litsch sees, in addition to the food manufacturers, above all politics as a duty. He skeptically evaluates the draft of a "National Strategy for the Reduction of Sugar, Fats and Salt in Finished Products" recently submitted by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture:

“It is gratifying that our nutrition minister is finally finally going to fight unhealthy foods with a national strategy. But shortly before the end of the legislature, this announcement comes very late and remains largely non-binding. "

In any case, one cannot rely on voluntary commitments by the food industry.

“We have only recently seen this at EU level. Here, the food groups' commitment to voluntarily forego child marketing measures was completely ineffective. Therefore, it would be negligent to ignore these experiences in the national strategy and only rely on trust again. ”(Ad)

Author and source information

Video: Nutrition Insights for People with Diabetes (June 2022).