Is it ok for kids to have more sugar than adults? I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so. Kids are more active. Their developing brains and bodies need that extra fuel, right? 

Well not exactly because the childhood obesity rate is soaring. According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), a shocking one in five kids is obese. There are several contributors to childhood obesity. Eating excess sugar is certainly one major cause. 

So how can you tell if your kid is eating too much of the sweet stuff? 

Frequent Hunger

It used to drive me crazy. Imagine having four kids who every two hours required feeding. I felt like a mama bird shuffling back and forth to the nest, regurgitating worms for my clutch. Thank God for my supportive husband, Preston, who helped make sure our brood’s bellies were full. If not for him, I would have returned at least a couple of my chicks back to the baby store. 

When your kid—or any adult for that matter—frequently consumes sugar, it tricks the brain in a couple different ways. 

First, when you eat sugar, it tells the brain to produce more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Not to be confused with a gremlin, ghrelin normally tells the brain that you’ve had enough to eat. But when your kid eats—or drinks—anything with a lot of sugar, well, the reason they turn into a gremlin is because of ghrelin. 

When levels of ghrelin increase, it tells the brain, “feed me, feed me.” You would think after eating a huge meal, your kids’ bellies would be full. But if they have a high-sugar snack, ghrelin will tell their brains an hour or two later that they are still hungry. 

Another reason why eating lots of sugar tricks the brain is because of the feel-good hormone serotonin. 

When grown ups are sad, we reach for a pint of ice cream or chocolate because it stimulates serotonin. Kids are not really any different. They have feel-good hormones, too. And if they’re eating sugar throughout the day, they’re going to need to keep chasing that serotonin fix. 

Hyperactivity

It’s normal for kids to be energetic—especially if you have boys. But there’s a big difference between being an Energizer Bunny and being hyperactive. 

Both sugar and artificial food coloring can cause ADHD or other hyperactive spectrum disorders. Sugar stimulates the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline. 

Snack (junk) foods like M&Ms frequently contain both added sugars and artificial food coloring. 

Restless Sleep

This one’s kind of a no-brainer; or more accurately, too much of a brain-stimulator. If your kids are consuming too much sugar during the day, their nervous system may become too overactive to wind down and sleep peacefully through the night. 

Behavioral Issues

When blood sugar levels rise and fall as steeply as the tides on a full moon, your kid can become a cranky evil monster! #motheroftheyear haha. 

Not only can eating too much sugar cause your kids to become hyperactive, excess sugar can lead to moodiness. 

Kids with depression have been shown in research studies to be more resistant to insulin. That means that they need more of this blood-sugar-controlling hormone than other kids that don’t have behavioral or psychological problems. And when your kid eats lots of sugar, they become more resistant to insulin over time.

Other Signs Your Kids Are Having Too Much Sugar

It’s a great time to be a pediatric dentist. Because of the ton of added sugars food manufacturers use in processed foods, kids as young as between 2 and 5 are getting more cavities

Other warning signs your kids are consuming too much sugar include skin conditions like eczema, frequent digestive upset and, the most obvious: weight gain. 

Not All Sugars Are Created Equal


When I was a kid, my mom would tell me to drink my orange juice or apple juice. Fruit juice comes from fruit. It’s gotta be healthy, right? Well, one generation later that nutritional fallacy still exists. 

Fruit juice (not to mention soda) is one of the leading contributors of kids eating too much sugar. 

Yes, natural sugars are vital for energy. But added sugars are not only fueling the nation’s obesity and diabetes epidemic for adults. These twindemics are getting worse for kids, too. 

If your kids are craving fruit juice, just give them a whole piece of fruit. 

For example, a cup of orange juice contains over 20 grams of sugar. In comparison, a small orange contains less than 10 grams of naturally-occuring sugar. 

But even with natural fruit you have to be careful to some extent because fruit is nature’s candy. 

Need Help With Your Family’s Nutrition? Get a L.E.A.N. Start

I’ve recently introduced in my health coaching program, a workshop I’m leading based that’s based on a program created by Dr. William Sears, one of the most influential pediatric doctors in the nation. Dr. Sears’ L.E.A.N Start program combines simple lifestyle, exercise, attitude and nutrition tips for the whole family. 
LEARN MORE ABOUT L.E.A.N. START FOR A HEALTHIER FAMILY HERE.

Is it ok for kids to have more sugar than adults? I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so. Kids are more active. Their developing brains and bodies need that extra fuel, right? 

Well not exactly because the childhood obesity rate is soaring. According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), a shocking one in five kids is obese. There are several contributors to childhood obesity. Eating excess sugar is certainly one major cause. 

So how can you tell if your kid is eating too much of the sweet stuff? 

Frequent Hunger

It used to drive me crazy. Imagine having four kids who every two hours required feeding. I felt like a mama bird shuffling back and forth to the nest, regurgitating worms for my clutch. Thank God for my supportive husband, Preston, who helped make sure our brood’s bellies were full. If not for him, I would have returned at least a couple of my chicks back to the baby store. 

When your kid—or any adult for that matter—frequently consumes sugar, it tricks the brain in a couple different ways. 

First, when you eat sugar, it tells the brain to produce more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Not to be confused with a gremlin, ghrelin normally tells the brain that you’ve had enough to eat. But when your kid eats—or drinks—anything with a lot of sugar, well, the reason they turn into a gremlin is because of ghrelin. 

When levels of ghrelin increase, it tells the brain, “feed me, feed me.” You would think after eating a huge meal, your kids’ bellies would be full. But if they have a high-sugar snack, ghrelin will tell their brains an hour or two later that they are still hungry. 

Another reason why eating lots of sugar tricks the brain is because of the feel-good hormone serotonin. 

When grown ups are sad, we reach for a pint of ice cream or chocolate because it stimulates serotonin. Kids are not really any different. They have feel-good hormones, too. And if they’re eating sugar throughout the day, they’re going to need to keep chasing that serotonin fix. 

Hyperactivity

It’s normal for kids to be energetic—especially if you have boys. But there’s a big difference between being an Energizer Bunny and being hyperactive. 

Both sugar and artificial food coloring can cause ADHD or other hyperactive spectrum disorders. Sugar stimulates the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline. 

Snack (junk) foods like M&Ms frequently contain both added sugars and artificial food coloring. 

Restless Sleep

This one’s kind of a no-brainer; or more accurately, too much of a brain-stimulator. If your kids are consuming too much sugar during the day, their nervous system may become too overactive to wind down and sleep peacefully through the night. 

Behavioral Issues

When blood sugar levels rise and fall as steeply as the tides on a full moon, your kid can become a cranky evil monster! #motheroftheyear haha. 

Not only can eating too much sugar cause your kids to become hyperactive, excess sugar can lead to moodiness. 

Kids with depression have been shown in research studies to be more resistant to insulin. That means that they need more of this blood-sugar-controlling hormone than other kids that don’t have behavioral or psychological problems. And when your kid eats lots of sugar, they become more resistant to insulin over time.

Other Signs Your Kids Are Having Too Much Sugar

It’s a great time to be a pediatric dentist. Because of the ton of added sugars food manufacturers use in processed foods, kids as young as between 2 and 5 are getting more cavities

Other warning signs your kids are consuming too much sugar include skin conditions like eczema, frequent digestive upset and, the most obvious: weight gain. 

Not All Sugars Are Created Equal


When I was a kid, my mom would tell me to drink my orange juice or apple juice. Fruit juice comes from fruit. It’s gotta be healthy, right? Well, one generation later that nutritional fallacy still exists. 

Fruit juice (not to mention soda) is one of the leading contributors of kids eating too much sugar. 

Yes, natural sugars are vital for energy. But added sugars are not only fueling the nation’s obesity and diabetes epidemic for adults. These twindemics are getting worse for kids, too. 

If your kids are craving fruit juice, just give them a whole piece of fruit. 

For example, a cup of orange juice contains over 20 grams of sugar. In comparison, a small orange contains less than 10 grams of naturally-occuring sugar. 

But even with natural fruit you have to be careful to some extent because fruit is nature’s candy. 

Need Help With Your Family’s Nutrition? Get a L.E.A.N. Start

I’ve recently introduced in my health coaching program, a workshop I’m leading based that’s based on a program created by Dr. William Sears, one of the most influential pediatric doctors in the nation. Dr. Sears’ L.E.A.N Start program combines simple lifestyle, exercise, attitude and nutrition tips for the whole family. 
LEARN MORE ABOUT L.E.A.N. START FOR A HEALTHIER FAMILY HERE.