If there’s one thing toddlers love more than getting new toys, it’s chocolate. Those little devils go mad for the sugar filled confectionery. In fact, toddlers love it so much that I've had reports of mums giving their little ones chocolate just to see that look of glee on their faces. What better way to lighten your own heart than to see love on the face of your child? (Even if that love is directed towards edible race cars)
In lieu of this, what do we do about all those supposed studies we’ve heard about that say chocolate is bad for health or the ones that contradict those saying eating chocolate every day is good for health? What do we believe? What effect would chocolate have on our kids?
Maybe we can answer a few of those questions.
One of the most prominent contents of chocolate is caffeine. Caffeine is a well-known diuretic and stimulant of the nervous system. What does this mean in English? This means that caffeine, and in turn chocolate, can lead to increased heart rates, energy build up causing jitteriness, and the frequent need to urinate. While not all children react to caffeine, most children do show this behaviour when they consume large amounts of chocolate.
Children have a tendency to get addicted to sugary foods all the time. This is one of the reasons that kids get addicted to chocolates and candy extremely fast. Once they’re addicted, one of the most difficult tasks is getting them to stop. This also means that they may be more fussy about other foods that may be better for their health or more nutritious because they favour processed sugary snacks. Another sugar related issue of chocolate is that it contains refined sugar which enters the bloodstream very easily. Once it enters the bloodstream, blood sugar levels rise, leading to the stimulation of adrenal glands, and this, in turn, increases the production of adrenaline in the body. This means that not only will you be dealing with a cranky, fussy toddler, but also with a hyper one.
The chocolates that you can buy in shops are processed which means they contain a lot of other ingredients in addition to cocoa and sugar and milk. These include certain emulsifying agents. The problem here is that over time, manufacturers have started using more synthetic ingredients in the processing of chocolate. It also generally contains milk and nuts or substitutes of either/both. This complex mixture may end up containing some substance that your child is allergic to and your child could have extreme reactions if the ingredients aren’t checked properly.
As was mentioned earlier, the sugar in the chocolate enters the bloodstream leading to excess production of adrenaline. This means that your child is probably more hyperactive. Another problem that emerges from this is that the energy created in your toddler's body could alter sleep patterns and lead to disturbed sleep or the inability to fall asleep easily. This could lead to various other health issues such as lower immunity, falling sick often, and other problems caused due to sleep issues.
Other Health Problems
When chocolate is consumed in excess amounts, it has the potential to cause Type 2 diabetes. This is mainly due to the fact that it affects insulin sensitivity. Another harmful effect of chocolate is that excessive intake of it leads to obesity which brings a whole plethora of other problems along.
Keep in mind that moderate amount of chocolates every week or a little bit of chocolate every day is not harmful to your child. Cocoa has been found to have certain properties that boost health such as being an antioxidant. It only becomes a problem when it’s consumed in excess or high quantities.