While eating some Junior Mints recently, I had a thought: "Hmm, I wonder how much sugar is in this." The answer is 96g of sugar. That's a LOT of sugar.
Then I started thinking about going to the movies as a kid, where I would eat a whole box of Junior Mints (well, except the 1 or 2 that would end up stuck to my pants) AND drink a big ol' Slurpee. According to 7Eleven's website, a large Slurpee contains 63g of sugar. In other words, I would semi-regularly gobble down 156g of sugar in one sitting.
As a point of reference, the recommended daily sugar intake for an average adult human ranges from 25 to 40g, depending on who you ask, with the lower end coming from the World Health Organization. Depending on the age of a child, this recommendation is considerably lower.
Letting your child eat this way is like letting them ride in a car without a seat-belt. Believe it or not, heart disease -- the #1 cause of death in the US -- kills almost 5 times as many Americans annually than all accidents, including auto. Diabetes is also one of the top killers. Our laws require everyone to wear a seatbelt, and few would hesitate to call a parent negligent if they let their child ride in a car without one.
Should it be legal to market candy, beverages, cereal, etc. to children that contain such high sugar content? Do parents have a moral obligation, within their means, to provide reasonable nutrition to their kids? Why is our health system so focused on curing diseases instead of preventing them?
It's time that we raise our level of awareness and start making healthier choices for ourselves and our children.
- 7Eleven Nutritional Information: https://www.slurpee.com/flavors
- National Healthy Institute - Overweight and Obesity Statistics: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/
- CBS News - "World Health Organization lowers sugar intake recommendations": http://www.cbsnews.com/news/world-health-organization-lowers-sugar-intake-recommendations/
- Center for Disease Control & Prevention - Leading Causes of Death: "http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm"