Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Of sugar and milk

When Ayra was a baby, I used to be very concerned about her weight. She weighed just "cukup-cukup makan" for babies her age - borderline underweight.

Now at 3 years old, she weighs 12.5 kg. It may still be borderline underweight for her age, but I'm not so concerned with the numbers anymore. I'm more concerned of what she eats. It's easy to just let a child eats anything she wants when she's a picky eater, no?

"Takpe lah dia makan chocolate, at least she eats something".

Uhh no, not to me. It's not ok. Once in awhile tak apa la. I hate it when someone else feeds my kids with chocolates, sweets, candies and other junk food without my permission. Reason bagi sebab kasihan. Kasihan budak tak makan candy, really? Lagi kasihan kalau bagi kot because it's so obvious it only contains added sugars and coloring. Added sugars have no nutritional values. They're only empty calories that do nothing good for the body. Kalau kasihan, jangan bagi.

But what I don't really get is when (some) doctors give candies to their children patients as a treat. Of course I didn't say no to the doctor's face when he handed sweets to Ayra. I let her took them and thank the doctor, then dump the sweets in the dustbin when we're out of the clinic. I told her that sweets and candies are not good for her teeth and body, and she's okay with it sebab tak pernah bagi dia makan so she doesn't know what they taste like. The same goes to birthday party packs and wedding door gifts with candies and sweets.

Now that I know the "hidden" names of added sugars like sucrose, corn syrup solids and glucose syrup solids, I've become more aware of the food choices I made for my kids including milk. However, no sucrose does not mean there is no sugars (I will give you some tips later on how to confirm about the added sugars).

As you already know, Ayra is such a picky eater. Kalau dulu, nak jugak la dia makan 5-6 slices of wholemeal bread a day (that's the only food she likes besides cereal). But now her daily diet consists mainly of milk. Susah sangat nak bagi dia makan. I'm at my wits end trying to get her to eat! It's like she's turning into a baby again. She even woke up in the middle of the night, asking for milk. -_- In fact, she drinks more milk than her baby sis! (Raina, Alhamdulillah senang makan).

Lately, Ayra only eats 3 bites of bread (bites ok, not slices) AND about 8-10 bottles of 7 oz milk a day - imagine that! And because of that, we decided to change her growing up milk powder to the one with no added sugar. At first she didn't really like it because of the tawar taste, but after some time she's okay with it. I just have to make sure the milk she's drinking doesn't contain excessive sugar like the previous growing up milk that we gave her.

It can be tricky to know the exact amount of added sugars in growing up milk powders because they're not mandatorily declared on the label. But you can estimate it. Look for the level of 'carbohydrate per serve' - anything more than 11-12g is added sugars. Senang kan? You can also try tasting your child's milk and see if it's sweet even for you!

We all know carbohydrate contains sugar and that children need carbohydrate in their diets for energy. But only from natural food sources like grains, fruits vegetables and milk that are high in complex carbohydrates. Not from added sugars! Excess added sugars in diet can lead to overweight and obesity in children (and adults). Did you know, in 2010 there are 43 million of preschool children who are overweight and 92 million who are at risk of overweight around the world? MILLION. That's a scary number! I bet the number has increased by now! Who's to blame? Adakah mereka dan keluarga mereka?

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She slipped off her pink stilettos at 11:00 PM |