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September 22, 2018

Cereals, yoghurt and fruit juice harmful to children - Nutritionist

A serving of a fruit juice. /COURTESY
A serving of a fruit juice. /COURTESY

Children are still eating too much sugar, with reports stating that some are consuming as much as seven teaspoons a day, the same as the average adult.

This excessive amount is said to be hidden in everyday foods such as breakfast cereal, yoghurt, muesli bars and fruit juice.

Appearing on Sunrise, Australian dietitian Susie Burrell revealed what parent's should avoid feeding their children.

"We have big issues with too much sugar being consumed which basically leads to over consumption and weight gain and a preference for sweet foods," she explained.

SULTANAS 

For many parents, a packet of sultanas is a quick and easy snack to add to a child's lunchbox before they run off to school.

Unfortunately these are filled to the brim with sugar, as one packet contains up to six grams of sugar.

To make things even more complicated, Susie explained that there is a difference between natural sugar and concentrated sugar.  

"What the message is for parents is that these are concentrated forms of sugar. If you consume a piece of fruit you're going to get between 15 and 20 grams," Susie said.

"But when we eat concentrated, which is the case with dried fruit, in a single case of sultanas you're getting close to six teaspoons of sugar which is programming these kids to look for these sweet foods."

FRUIT JUICE 

Susie explained that the same thing applies with juice.

This is because it is a concentrated amount of juice and sugar and it doesn't have the benefit of the fibre and other filling aspects.

"The worst offenders are fruit juices. Some kids are getting two or three a day and you're looking at four teaspoons in a single serve," she said.

"The breakfast juices are notorious for being packed full of sugars - up to six teaspoons. You're better to have plain milk with Milo as you're getting less sugar."

BREAKFAST CEREAL 

Lucky cereals aren't as bad as they used to be, with many companies trying to improve their sugar content over the years.

This doesn't mean though that most cereal boxes can be considered a healthy meal.

"They used to be horrendous but they're still not great. You're getting a few teaspoons [f sugar] per serve, but they're better than they were," Susie said.

YOGHURT 

Most people think yoghurt is a quick and easy snack that is packed with nutrition but Susie warned parents that they need to be careful with yoghurt marketed towards kids.

"Some of them are quite big serves and you're getting up to 12 grams, close to three teaspoons, in a single serve and a lot of small kids are eating those and they're too big," she said.

"The less added sugar in their diet the better. Primary school aged children should eat no more than four teaspoons (two grams) of added sugar."

MUESLI BARS 

Another tip Susie shared is preparing snacks that are plainer so you can dodge the excessive amount of sugar.

She recommended cheese and crackers and baking things at home.

"Snack bars can have up to three teaspoons [of sugar], even the ones that look pretty healthy," Susie explained.

"Fresh fruit is always best and plain yoghurt with a little bit of added fruit - or ones with five grams of sugar per serve."

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