There’s nothing wrong with cookies and milk or a piece of candy now and then. Your kids’ bodies know what to do with it, even though the sugar is refined and stripped of its nutrients.

Where the problem more often lies is in the sugars that are hidden in so many foods, from bread to canned soup and beyond. A constant diet of sugar is damaging to anyone, and doubly so for children.

Many products have sugar in various forms to enhance the flavor. Unfortunately, the sugar does more than that. We have all heard of a “sugar high” where kids are hyperactive within minutes of eating it. Parents are cautioned to not let children have sugars of any kind before bedtime for that reason.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Sugar causes or encourages chronic inflammation, obesity, yeast infections, cancer, tooth decay, diabetes, autoimmune problems and nutritional deficiencies. These things attack both adults and children, but children are even more vulnerable to them because of their smaller body mass.

Chronic inflammation can lead to forms of arthritis, psoriasis and lupus, while obesity is often the result of a sugar high which causes a drastic lowering of blood sugar which in turn causes the body to call for more sugar or food.

A child may seem hungry but want a cookie or ice cream. It may be hard to stop the merry-go-round, but for your child’s sake, try to do it.

Cancer feeds on sugar; that’s a well known fact. If there is too much sugar circulating in your child’s bloodstream, cancers of various kinds may crop up.

Nutritional deficiencies arise when children fall into the cycle of high blood sugar/low blood sugar and

The best way to avoid feeding your kids all that extra sugar is to cook from scratch, but not everyone has the time to do that all the time. The next best way to avoid it is to read every label thoroughly and avoid products that include sugar.

Sugar comes under many names and not all of them are readily recognizable, but watch for these:

  • Carob syrup
  • D-mannose
  • Dextran
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Diatase
  • Fructose
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • HFCS
  • Lactose
  • Malt
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle

Other, more common and recognizable names include turbinado sugar, grape sugar, fruit juice, honey and corn syrup.

There are many other names for sugar, so if you’re not sure of a product, do some research before allowing your child to have it, or allow it only in moderation. Be on the alert because new names for sugar are constantly being introduced.

Almost all products on the grocery shelves have alternatives, from organic versions to homemade, so your child won’t need to feel deprived.