It’s probably safe to say that parents want the best for their children and would like them to lead happy, healthy, productive, and successful lives. Many parents would also like to provide their children with things that make their young lives happy and blissful.

If you asked parents if they’d like their children to smoke cigarettes, most parents would answer with a resounding, “No!” Yet, every day, children have easy access to a food that isn’t regulated, isn’t illegal, and can be given to even the youngest toddler. It is, of course, sugars.

When children eat sugars, they are consuming a food that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), could be considered addictive. A 2008 study at Princeton University found that when rats were given large amounts of sugar, their brains underwent the same chemical changes that occurred as a result of abusing substances such as cocaine, morphine, and nicotine.

The USDA also points out that, over the last 200 years, the increase in sugar consumption is truly shocking. In 1822, it took five days for the average American to eat the same amount of sugars that we now consume every seven hours. With adults eating that much sugar, it’s easy to see how their children could develop the same habit.

One of sugars’ effects that has been proven is that it is a cause obesity in children. The World Health Organization puts the blame for obesity squarely on sugar-sweetened beverages. The Princeton study said that, when it comes to added sugars in children’s diets, sodas—which can contain as much as 10 teaspoons of sugar per can—are the main offenders. Because a sugary beverage doesn’t satiate hunger, kids tend to drink them quickly and are immediately ready for another.

When you consider that the American Heart Association recommends a daily added sugar limit of no more than 9 teaspoons/150 calories for men, and 6 teaspoons/100 calories for women and children (ages 2-19), and children under the age of 2 should not consume sugars at all, just one soda can put a child way over the suggested daily limit.

Research has also shown that an increase in dietary sugars is a cause of diabetes in more children and at an earlier age. In 1994, less than 5 percent of kids diagnosed with diabetes had Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. Today, it’s 30 to 50 percent. Francine Kaufman, director of the Comprehensive Childhood Diabetes Center at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles said, “When these problems develop in elementary school instead of middle age, the advanced stage of heart disease tends to occur earlier, too. That means that a child with high blood pressure may have a heart attack at 35.”

What can parents do to curb their children’s sugar intake? The first thing is to begin slowly cutting sugars from children’s diets. Like any other addictive substance, abruptly eliminating sugars could cause symptoms of withdrawal.

Here are five easy ways to help kids transition from sugars to SweetLeaf:

  1. Instead of sugar-laden soft drinks, or soft drinks sweetened with artificial ingredients, your child might love sparkling water flavored with SweetLeaf® Water Drops™. They’ll get the carbonation of their favorite soda with a burst of flavor they’ll love. Water Drops have no sugars, zero calories, no artificial sweeteners; they’re non-GMO verified and have a non-glycemic response. Try all six flavors!
  2. Get rid of those sugary breakfast cereals your children love and replace them with a sugar-free cereal sprinkled with SweetLeaf® Stevia Sweetener or SweetLeaf® Organic Stevia Sweetener; both containing no sugars, no calories, no carbs, and no artificial ingredients. They are non-GMO verified. Each packet is as sweet as 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  3. Do your kids like chocolate milk or smoothies? SweetLeaf® Sweet Drops™ will come to the rescue. In 16 delicious flavors including chocolate, cola, root beer, and peppermint, Sweet Drops in the 2-ounce bottle can flavor and sweeten just about any foods, beverages, and recipes. And Sweet Drops have no sugars, no calories, no carbs, and no artificial ingredients.
  4. Worried about how to substitute SweetLeaf for sugar when making your favorite recipes? Don’t be! Our Conversion Calculator automatically converts sugar to every type of SweetLeaf product so there’s no guesswork involved. Your recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar? Replace the sugar with 2 tablespoons of SweetLeaf Stevia and save yourself 773 calories.
  5. Think there aren’t any low- or no-sugar treats your kids will love? How about cinnamon ice cream, orange creamsicles, coconut pudding, maple coconut fudge, or peppermint mocha pudding? You can find them all and much more in the Recipe section of SweetLeaf.com. Search recipes by meal type, dietary restrictions, or SweetLeaf products.

Getting your family to kick the sugar habit is so much easier when sugars are replaced with SweetLeaf. SweetLeaf will give everyone the flavor they crave and will give you peace of mind knowing that you’re creating a healthier future for your family by eliminating sugars from their diet.

SweetLeaf’s products are available at your favorite health food stores, natural stores, supermarkets, and online retailers.