Artificial Sugars: Are They Safe for Kids?

It’s no secret that sugar is detrimental to the health of children. So, what about artificial sugars? Sugar-free foods are marketed as healthy alternatives to snacks, candies, and treats made with refined sugar.

This post will explore the health and safety implications of artificial sugars in kids and how they stack up against natural sweeteners. You will learn how to incorporate healthier snacks into your child’s diet and why a well-balanced nutritious diet is the best way you can help support your child’s healthy growth and development. 

What are Artificial Sugars?

Artificial sugars are low-calorie sweeteners that are FDA approved for use in food items readily available throughout your local supermarket. 

You may recognize some of these artificial sugar brands:

  •   Sweet’N Low (Saccharin)
  •   Splenda (Sucralose)
  •   Equal (Aspartame)
  •   Sweet One (Acesulfame-K).

Are Artificial Sugars Safe for Kids?

The short answer is yes.

Artificial sugars and congenital disabilities, cancer, and behavioral problems in children are not linked.

Children with phenylketonuria (PKU) are unable to metabolize phenylalanine found in aspartame. So, if your child has been diagnosed with this condition, you should avoid that particular artificial sugar.

What You Should Know about Artificial Sugars

Any parent can tell you that introducing vegetables to a toddler can be challenging. Because artificial sugars are many times sweeter than refined sugars, there is a concern that sugar receptors may become overstimulated, creating an intolerance for savory foods. While this may

not be inherently dangerous, it’s plain to see how this may compound difficulties for parents of picky eaters.

Instead of relying on artificial sugars like aspartame or saccharin as alternatives to refined sugar, consider using a natural sweetener like monk fruit, stevia, or agave.

How to Reduce Sugar Intake in Kids the Natural Way

Incorporating healthy foods into your child’s diet is a great idea. Still, only if they agree to eat them. Natural sweeteners like stevia, agave, and monk fruit are healthy, safe alternatives to refined sugars and artificial sugars.

Here are some ideas that could help you satisfy your child’s sweet tooth using natural sweeteners:

  • Replace sugary cereals with granola topped with fresh strawberries or raspberries and your choice of milk. Drizzle a small amount of honey on top for a sweet crunch.
  • Substitute refined sugar in baking recipes with stevia, agave, or monk fruit.
  • Swap out drinks sweetened with artificial sugars for water infused with fresh herbs, fruits, and a natural sweetener like stevia.

Balanced Approach to Artificial Sugars is Safest for Kids

Although artificial sugars are safe for kids, use discernment if you decide to use them. Food items marketed as having “no sugar” or “sugar-free” does not equate to healthy and nutritious.

Sweet treats that contain refined or artificial sugars are an indulgence reserved for special occasions. Instead, opt for beverages, treats, and other foods sweetened naturally with agave, monk fruit, or stevia. Your child’s health and development depend on a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods.

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