It’s time to cut your children’s sugar intake.
New recommendations from the American Heart Association said children should only be allowed six teaspoons of added sugar a day. This recent study, along with Oklahoma’s growing obesity rate, caused one Tulsa doctor speak out.
Dr. Jim Meehan, founder and CEO of CatalystMD, MINDSET Health Solutions, and Doctorly SOLUTIONS, said that sugar is even more destructive than we’re being told.
“The point that parents need to be aware of, that they themselves and their children are being intentionally manipulated by foods that are created to lead to addiction,” Dr. Meehan said.
Dr. Meehan treats patients with addition habits, including opioid and heroin addiction. He says there is a link to these drugs and sugary products our children are digesting.
“They all have the same bases for activity in the brain. It’s through the release of dopamine,” he said. “These processed foods are engineered to increase the release of dopamine so that they become addictive.”
He believes understanding nutrition and the effects of sugar is more important than ever, but said sugar is not the only problem.
“The problem is not just sugar, the problem is the types of sugar that is being consumed,” he said. “One of the types of sugar being consumed is, and in much greater amounts, is high fructose corn syrup.”
Dr. Meehan also explained that many products will contain sugar without you realizing it.
“High fructose corn syrup is cheap. It’s readily available,” he said. “We have a huge corn industry in this country and it’s more addictive.”
High fructose corn syrup is found in most sports drinks, soda, breakfast cereals and candy bars. Dr. Meehan suggested going to the store as a family and reading the labels on boxes before buying the product.
“The first thing that you got to do is change your environment. If you want to change what your kids are eating, change what’s available in the home,” Dr. Meehan suggested. “Don’t expect overnight results.”
Dr. Meehan knows how difficult it can be to make a lifestyle change in the home, especially when you have kids. But he said the improvement in their lives was worth it.
“It started with me just saying, ‘Let’s cut the sugar out,’” he said. “And then over the course of the years, because it’s been years now, they have learned new, important, critical elements that improve their health.”
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