A discussion on the effects that chocolate has on the diet of children. An overview of the scientific literature on its potential impacts on development and behavior, what physicians used to prescribe to their patients, and the reasons why this recommendation has altered today
The amount of chocolate that children consume these days worries me to a very high degree.
It would appear that chocolate has turned into a standard component of the modern diet, as evidenced by the fact that many children consume it on a daily basis.
In addition to this, there are some adults who appear to believe that it is appropriate to force it upon youngsters. This makes a significant contribution to the problem by fostering the development of a potential addiction to chocolate in the future.
Emails from concerned parents who are outraged about the prevalence of chocolate consumption at school arrive in my inbox on a regular basis. The vast majority of the time, this occurs without their participation or approval.
Additionally, some educators choose to reward their students with chocolate. This may, without the person’s knowledge, inadvertently create a psychological dependency in the future.
Some educators even give it to their pupils in the hours leading up to standardized tests so that they can do better.
Research into the Impact of Chocolate on Child Development
It is highly concerning that many parents and teachers are encouraging their children to consume chocolate at a young age, which opens the door to potential health risks.
When I was a kid, my parents didn’t allow me eat much chocolate, and they definitely prohibited me from consuming anything with caffeine. This was done out of worry that the caffeine would cause problems for my kidneys, which are still maturing. On Halloween and Easter, the only times I was permitted to have more than a few pieces of chocolate candy were under very limited circumstances.
In his Family Practice, where he provided medical advise to patients, my father, who is a physician, always gave the same recommendation.
A review of the existing research on the effect that caffeine has on the kidneys reveals inconsistent findings even in the present day.
Therefore, the best course of action for children, whose kidneys are still developing and expanding, is to exercise extreme caution.
Dangers Associated with Fake Chocolate
Even more concerning is the fact that the majority of the time, these toddlers are consuming counterfeit chocolate.
Throughout the years, American candy manufacturers have gradually but surely transitioned away from using actual ingredients in favor of synthetic tastes created in factories and genetically modified sugar. In addition to this, true cocoa butter that has all of its natural fat is typically substituted with low-quality vegetable oils that have gone rancid.
This is the true with virtually all of the top-tier brands, with the exception of a select few.
Read the labels before you buy anything, though!
Even the upscale and exquisitely packaged Godiva chocolate has a number of unsavory additives.
It’s unfortunate to see that some European chocolate firms have followed suit in the interest of increasing profits, yet they have.
If you’ve ever contrasted the flavor of an artificially flavored, GMO-sweetened Snickers bar with the authentic flavor of chocolate found in an Ocho bar (an organic, non-GMO alternative to Snickers), then you’ll understand precisely what I’m talking about.
It Appears That Striking a Balance Is Necessary for Success
According to the findings of the research that were discussed before, striking a healthy balance appears to be the most important factor.
Even if it’s a fantastic plan if there’s a way to pull it off, denying children of all ages access to chocolate for the entirety of their formative years is a choice that carries with it the very real risk of severely backfiring in a variety of ways.
When I say “backfiring,” what I really mean is that the children might start stealing the chocolate as a form of defiance.
On the other side, not placing any limitations on it at all can contribute to other issues, such as having poor eating habits.
Thus, striking a happy medium seems wise.
In my opinion, the best strategy is to educate children about how to recognize chocolate of high quality and the importance of understanding what it means to consume it in moderation.
My plan has always been to give my children opportunity to enjoy real, unprocessed chocolate in small amounts that are free from genetically modified organisms and to keep those chocolates whole.
These sweets absolutely need to have some kind of beneficial fat in them at all times. Because of this, excessive consumption, spikes in blood sugar followed by mood dumps (also known as meltdowns) and the development of addiction are avoided.
In my opinion, the most effective way to teach children to avoid the bad food is to first expose them to the good stuff and let them get a taste of it. In addition to this, it equips kids with the mental strength to refuse chocolate even when it is all around them.
Getting Rid of Chocolate Addiction by Eating Less of It
If children have only been eating the real thing in moderation and have always been supervised while doing so, it is hoped that as they get older, they will come to the realization that processed chocolate really does not taste very good and that it is best to avoid it. This is especially true if they have only ever eaten the real thing.
Even though there is no plan that is foolproof, I’m delighted to say that this method appears to have been successful with my three children, who are very different from one another in terms of temperament, personality, and food preferences.
They are now old enough to make their own decisions regarding their food, and they rarely consume traditional candies or chocolates.
They would much rather have an occasional homemade treat or a quality piece of chocolate purchased from a local confectionary that makes its chocolate using traditional ingredients.
How do you approach the topic of chocolate with your kids? What was your approach?