A while ago, I got sick. I don’t often get sick so when I do, I am really sick. I drove to the hospital with a severe headache and bodyache. What I thought was a simple flu bug, turns into a trip to the emergency room.
They found my blood pressure exceptionally high. They tested my blood glucose and found it high too. They slapped on the ECG machine and thank goodness, I don’t have any funny heart beats.
Initially, I was stubborn. I told my doctor if he gives me something to take away fever and pains, then, I will be ok.
However, my physician kept me in the hospital for three days to see what’s wrong with me. He summoned a dietician and a diabetes educationist to talk to me.
And I get a very long lecture about sugars, insulin, carbohydrate, wholegrains foods, added sugars and more. Suddenly, I feel like a kid again, listening to them teaching me about corn syrup solids, glucose syrup solids, sucrose and all those fancy names they put on food labels.
They ask me to read food labels carefully from now on. I was reminded to limit white rice, white bread and processed foods as these contain a lot of sugars. I was shown graphs and charts how the carbohydrate we consume will turn into sugars. And if our pancreas has become less efficient and not producing enough insulin, then, we get diabetes.
The two nurses told me I am lucky I found out that I am bordering on getting diabetes. Many people do not know until it is too late.
So, moms, please do educate and become aware of the added sugars in our children’s diet. Learn how to check milk label for added sugars and make sure in choosing the right milk for your child, you remember this factor.
Although kids need carbohydrate, be sure that these are healthy ones. Balance energy for child by giving them the right growing up milk. Learn how to decode all those energy and other terms.
Under the Malaysian Labelling Guidelines for growing up milk powder, all sugars are declared as carbohydrate. That means anything higher than 11g-12g for ‘carbohydrate per serve’ is added sugars. Look how high this number is in some brands – so high!
Now, my little boy and I are more aware and we are checking out food labels. Both of us know that excess added sugars in the diet can lead to overweight and obesity in children. This can increase the risk of adverse health outcomes in later life. So, now my boy has even stopped craving for candies, chocolates and fizzy drinks because he can count the number of grams of sugars in them.
Although carbohydrates are needed in children’s diets, these should come from natural food sources high in complex carbohydrates such as grains, fruits, vegetables and milk – not from added sugars. International recommendations limit the intake of all forms of added or free sugars to less than 10% of energy, or around 38 grams per day (7 teaspoons) for pre-school children.
So, I can say the hospital stay a while ago is a blessings in disguise as it has made me so much more aware and cautious about the foods I take and the foods I provide for my boy.