As a parent, you want what's best for your child. You try to feed them healthy food, make sure they get enough exercise and teach them good manners. But did you know that there's something else you should be worried about? That something is sugar. Yes, sugar can be harmful to your child's health in many ways. Here are just a few of the dangers of sugar for kids.

Sugar Can Cause Cavities 

You may not realize it, but sugary drinks and snacks are one of the leading causes of cavities in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children in the United States consume an average of 17 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is more than twice the recommended amount for children. This high intake of sugar causes cavities in children. When sugar sticks to teeth, it forms an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Over time, this acid will break down tooth enamel and create holes, or cavities. Once cavities form, they can be very difficult (and expensive) to fix. The best way to prevent cavities is to limit your child's intake of sugary foods and drinks.

Sugar Can Lead to Obesity 

Another danger of sugar is that it can lead to obesity. When consumed in large amounts, sugar can cause weight gain because it provides the body with empty calories. These are calories that have no nutritional value and can cause the body to store fat. Children who consume too much sugar are at risk for developing obesity, which can lead to a number of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. These drinks are a major contributor to obesity, including childhood obesity. One study found that children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to be obese than children who don't drink these drinks.

Did you know that there's something else you should be worried about? That something is sugar. Yes, sugar can be harmful to your child's health in many ways. Here are just a few of the dangers of sugar for kids.

Sugar and high blood pressure

It's not just adults who are at risk for hypertension from too much sweet stuff. According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, consuming too much sugar can raise blood pressure levels in children and adolescents. The researchers looked at data from over 5,000 young people between the ages of 3 and 18 and found that those with the highest intake of added sugars had higher blood pressure readings than those with lower intakes.

Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes 

Not only can sugar lead to weight gain, but it can also contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that occurs when your body doesn't produce enough insulin or when the insulin doesn't work properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body turn sugar into energy. When there isn't enough insulin or the insulin isn't working properly, the sugar stays in your blood which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Sugar and heart disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. And while it’s often thought of as a problem that only adults have to worry about, the fact is that heart disease kills more kids than any other disease. In fact, it kills more kids than cancer, AIDS, and accidents combined. What’s even more alarming is that most cases of heart disease in kids are preventable. One of the biggest causes of heart disease in kids is sugar. Yes, sugar. The sweet stuff that we all love to eat. Sugar consumption contributes to heart disease in several ways. It raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can damage the arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Sugar Can Affect Behavior 

Have you ever noticed that your child seems to have more energy after eating sugary foods? That's because sugar can actually affect behavior. Sugar causes a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to hyperactivity and impulsive behavior in children. If your child consumes too much sugar on a regular basis, you may notice that they have difficulty paying attention or sitting still for long periods of time. While a little bit of sugar isn't going to cause major behavioral problems, too much sugar can make it difficult for children to concentrate and focus on tasks. 

Limiting your child's sugar intake

There are many ways to limit children's sugar intake. Some parents may choose to strictly regulate the amount of sugar their children consume, while others may opt for a more gradual approach that allows their children to have a bit more freedom. There are pros and cons to both methods, but the important thing is that parents find what works best for them and their children.

One way to limit sugar intake is by avoiding processed foods, which are often high in added sugars. Another is to read food labels carefully and look for hidden sugars in products like ketchup and salad dressing. Parents can also make sure their children get plenty of exercise, as this can help burn off excess sugar. And finally, it's important to talk to kids about the dangers of too much sugar and explain why it's important to limit their intake.


As a parent, it's important to be aware of the dangers of sugar for kids. While a little bit of sugar here and there is not going to cause major problems, too much sugar can lead to cavities, obesity, and behavioral issues in children. So next time you're tempted to give your child that sugary snack or drink, think twice! Their health will thank you for it in the long run.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Sugar and Dental Decay." Updated June 12, 2018.

Sugar and high blood pressure. (n.d.). Pediatrics, 134(4), e1048-e1056.