I am so grateful to our Emergency Department Physicians and Nurse Practitioners, who have continued to refer many children that come in to the ED for sudden “croup” attacks as they know my passion for helping these families and children have fewer “attacks” after a “diet makeover”! At least 4 out of 5 preschoolers that I see weekly in clinic for “recurrent croup” consistently have this in common: they are likely to drink milk at bedtime (mostly chocolate), and often drink juice at least 3-4 or more times per day!
Loving and concerned parents have the same reaction in clinic when I bring up the issue of hidden sugars in the seemingly innocent beverages our children consume at both daycare, preschool, and in our own homes:
- “BUT, IT SAYS 100% JUICE!”
- “WHAT ABOUT THE NO ADDED SUGAR ON THE LABEL?”
- “THE LABEL SAYS FRUITS AND VEGETABLES!”
- “BUT IT SAYS ORGANIC!”
Whether it’s added sugar or not, fructose or glucose, just know that ever 4 gram of sugar equals 1 teaspoon, so one pouch of Capri Sun Wild Cherry with 16 grams of sugar basically is 4 tsp of sugar mixed with water! Few pouches of that in a single day and you get the idea of how much sugar your child is chugging down!
As I read New York Times Bestseller by Michael Moss, “Salt Sugar Fat”, and you should too, one quickly realizes that there is no way families on their own can possibly have any hope against giant industries that spend millions on advertising and marketing targeting families and worse, addicting our infants and toddlers to the sugary beverages and foods! The only hope is for all of us to come together, medical professionals, families, consumers, educators, legislators, and everyone who is not in industry, to start get this message viral and tell every family with purchasing power the truth: our children may not live the longevity that you and I hope for, and no matter how young they are, they are now “sick” because of what they eat and drink. We can and we must help our children and each other’s, I promise you industry will not be helping them grow and live a healthy life. They are busy doing their job which is marketing and securing loyal customers for life!
Our children are experiencing a host of chronic issues like runny nose, congestion, cough, asthma that isn’t well controlled, recurrent vomiting, recurrent croup, whatever it may be that leads families to go to doctors and emergency rooms every day, and by the way all this sugar consumption though liquids and juices masked under labels with pretty pictures of whole fruits and vegetables is causing continual rise in obesity in our nation.
Please share with all of your loved ones awareness about juice and sweet beverages and ask them:
How much candy is your child drinking? This year, I intend to summarize data from these patients I have met to prove that after dietary makeover and elimination of sugary beverages they experience decrease need for doctor visits, medication use, and ED visits! I know that together, we can fight back and save our children! They can make this stuff, but we don’t have to buy it, and there is nothing more empowering than knowing that we are protecting our children.
Dr. Julie Wei is a pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist and the author of A Healthier Wei. As a mother herself, Dr. Wei is a passionate advocate for improving children's health through better diet and dietary habits. She has been committed to helping parents learn how to eliminate their child's ear, nose, and throat problems simply by reducing excessive sugar and dairy intake, as well as minimizing habitual late night snacking. She hopes to raise awareness for the need for accountability by both medical professionals and parents to ensure that children are not prescribed or take unnecessary medications long term.
When she is not in the clinic, operating room, or conducting research, you will find her in the kitchen preparing food with love along with her daughter Claire. If you sit next to her on the plane, she will likely share with you information about how to minimize choking hazards in young children, and many other tips for improving your child's health.