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Friday, June 03, 2011

Not all carbohydrates are sugars

I am a breastfeeding mum of two. However my breastfeeding journey has been anything but easy. I tried very hard and eventually I breastfed my babies for 1 ½ years and 3 years. When the times were tough though, especially for the first child, I supplemented my breast milk with a growing up milk that I had known about for years. My husband ran out and got a can of milk powder which was well known to us.

At the time, we just ran out and got our children a can of time tested brand of milk powder, the very first thing that came to our minds. As inexperienced first time parents with little help, we were too busy looking after our baby, we didn’t have time to study the labels then. My nephews, who are not breastfed, grew up on the same milk and they are fine looking, strong and intelligent young men.

My children are 7 and 9 now. They are not obese children. However, as a parent I'm still concerned when I read some advertisements recently about the high level of sugar content in some infant milk powders. Naturally I became worried especially since there was a website where you could calculate the sugar content which may give results of up to 13 teaspoons of sugars for some infant milk powders. However, a quick check on another site allayed my fears when I learned that not all carbohydrates are sugars.

There was also news on TV2 the other night where a professor from a university mentioned that there is no direct link with child obesity and consuming growing up milk formulas. He also mentioned that growing up milk formulas in the market meet the necessary standards.

A paediatrician said that consuming 13 teaspoons of sugars does not have a significant impact on a child’s health as long as they are active and exercise. They can burn it off easily. Children are mostly active anyway and it is our job as parents to make sure that they don’t turn into couch potatoes.

The mothers featured in the news look at labels before buying as I do. Apart from sugars, there are many other components that I look for, example vitamins, proteins, and other mineral content to meet their nutritional needs. I hope that I have made the right choice for my children by providing them with a good foundation for growth.

I think that we have to be careful when making choices for our children. Reading labels is one thing, we also have to do our own research and be careful about what we read. We should not rely on information from only one source. The internet is a good place to do research. There are a lot of information out there, some good and some false. It is up to us to read them all and make our own conclusions.


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