Conscientious parents teach their children about the dangers of smoking, drinking and taking drugs, but I wonder, what do they say about the danger coming from their pantry in the form of sugar. I recently noticed that our son was coming home daily with 44 ounce size cups of soda that he bought at the corner mini-market gas station. These sodas are very inexpensive for their size and many kids, and adults, prefer it to canned soda because they get more for their money. Sure, you can tell kids that sugar is bad for them, that it could rot their teeth, make them feel cranky and irritated, cause skin problems, make them feel tired, and that it could lead to bigger problems like arthritis and diabetes, and nothing that you say will seem to impact them.
Having worked in education I know that people learn in different ways. Some people learn by hearing, others learn through touch, and some learners are visual. Here is a lesson that is auditory, visual and tactile:
One 44 oz. soda = 38 teaspoons, 152 g, or ¾ cup sugar
Three 44 oz. sodas per week = 114 teaspoons, 456 g., 2-1/4 cups, or 1 lb. sugar
12 sodas per month = 456 teaspoons, 1824 g., 9 cups, or 4 lbs. Seen below in a 2 quart measurer.
For kids who are drinking one every day, that’s over 8 pounds of sugar a month. This does not even factor in the sugar from fast foods, candy bars, sweetened beverages like coffee and tea, breakfast foods, snack foods and condiments. Also, one think to mention is that drinks made with high fructose corn syrup go directly into the blood stream and make you crave for more sugar.
Considering the estimate that one-third of the American population has prediabetes or diabetes, we should think of meaningful and tangible ways to teach kids about the dangers of sugar.