Junus (6) asks: “Why is candy so unhealthy?” † family

Children’s questionChildren look at the world in amazement. They are constantly asking questions that we adults no longer ask. But the thing we might ask ourselves, too. In this series, experts answer children’s questions. Junos, 6, wonders: “Why is candy so unhealthy, when so tasty?”

There is a sink in the kitchen cabinet on the top shelf. If you put a chair opposite the table, stand on it and stretch to the end, you can reach it. At least if you are six years old and live in Junus’ house. And the desire to join is beneficial. There is candy in the tin. Junus: We are usually allowed one sweet every day. I often take one of the scary eyeballs we have left over from Halloween. Sometimes we get candy from the neighbours. I know that eating too many sweets is not good for you, but I like it so much that I think that when I live alone later, I will buy a lot of bags of candy every day.” It is clear that most children (and adults) love sweets. But why is it so unhealthy to this limit?

sugar as fuel

Eva Korpelin is a nutrition scientist at the University Medical Center Groningen and president of the Dutch Association for the Study of Obesity. “Sugar is fuel in your body,” Corbelin says. “Like fats and proteins, sugar gives you energy that allows you to move and survive. Because your body can use and digest sugars well, they are not all that bad. But too much sugar is not good.”


By eating sweets, you lose building materials and vitamins

Eva Corbelin

Vitamin deficiency

Because food that contains sugar is so delicious, people eat a lot of it quickly. And that has consequences, according to Korbelin. Your body cannot properly digest too much sugar. Then you become fat. Also, food with a lot of sugar often doesn’t contain the stuff. Vitamins, minerals and building materials eg. This is exactly what the body needs. Foods that contain a lot of sugar are called empty calories. If you eat a lot of empty calories, your body loses building materials and vitamins. And that’s exactly what happens when you eat candy.”

But if eating too many sweets isn’t good for you, why are they so delicious? Corpeleijn: The reason your body needs sugar can be traced back to the time when people were still foraging in the woods. Sugar is a good source of energy. If there is not a lot of food available, it is a good idea to eat more food that has a lot of energy. Of course there was no candy in the forest, only ripe fruit! And that was the perfect meal to boost your energy level.”

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Shouldn’t you give your child candy at all? According to Korbelin, this is not necessary. “The child is allowed a candy bar, a biscuit, or a sweet drink. But it is important to realize that it is fun. It should not replace a meal or satiate the appetite. Your cravings will go away faster if you have something to chew on, rather than a cookie that you swallowed that way.” A candy carrot or an apple, for example!”

Junus thinks for a moment about his future vision of life in rooms full of bags of candy. Then he shakes his head. No, I don’t think I’ll buy candy when I’m older. I once ate a lot of sweets at once and then got a stomach ache. I also love sweet peppers and light tomatoes. And strawberries, especially in summer. These are actually just sweets! Just like raisins and date balls. Just give me a little bit of everything.”

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