Sugar and Fat are Addictive For Kids (Video)

No responsible parent would consider buying their kids cigarettes or vodka, but did you know that foods that are high in fat and sugar such as chips and soda could be just as addictive to their growing bodies? In this video, pediatrician Nadine Burke explains how a junk food culture is directly contributing to the rising epidemic of childhood diabetes and obesity. Think that free refill of a soft drink is harmless? Think again.

Just Say No To Junk Food

From plastic toy tie-ins to cereal commercials during Saturday morning cartoons, big food companies are busy marketing junk food to kids. As Dr. Nadine Burke warns, “this has huge health implications.” What are you doing to help your children move from junk food to good food? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

As parents and teachers, we can teach children how to evaluate media messages and educate them to make healthier food choices. Here a few suggestions:

  • Teach media literacy. According to Common Sense Media, kids who watch more TV than their peers during middle and high school years have been shown to follow less healthy diets five years later. Similarly, children ages 7 to 11 who watched a half-hour cartoon that included food commercials ate 45 percent more snack food while watching the show than children who watched the same cartoon with non-food commercials. Download the Nourish Curriculum Guide to find the interactive activity “Analyzing Food Ads” which allows students to explore first-hand how marketing techniques influence what they eat.
  • Nix the Twix. Introduce healthy alternatives at school. Organize school functions and celebrations that are free of junk food and soda. Serve real foods such as fruit, nuts and veggies, and serve water instead of juice. For your next fundraiser, hold a healthy snack sale instead of a bake sale. Find culinary inspiration for healthy treats at
  • Shop better. In this video from Nourish Short Films, food journalist Michael Pollan shows how to navigate the grocery store and fill your cart with whole, fresh foods. Hint: shop the corners of the market, avoiding the center aisles where the highly processed junk food tends to resides.
  • Get cooking. Mother and “Lunch Wars” author Amy Kalafa recommends that families commit to eating at least one home-cooked, wholesome meal a week and involve the whole family in the process, from shopping to cleanup. Another suggestion? Encourage your children to make their own lunches. Kids are less apt to be swayed by the junk food options around them if they take pride in the meals they’ve prepared themselves. Discover more tips in Cooking Together.

Additional Resources


Anu Rism
Anu Rism5 years ago

Private matters of the home are not your business. It is private. What I eat is up to me alone. You all are from another country. Just trying to take over our free lands

KAREN L5 years ago

so true!

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Jonathan N.

All of this is horribly exacerbated by the fact that the second of our four most deep-seated instincts, to feed, only demands one thing - that humans find and consume as many calories and sodium as possible from anything that packs it in as much as possible, usually in the form of fat, salt and sugar. It really doesn't care about where it comes from or the long term implications, because instinct is unaware of vision or the future. The vast majority of our brains don't really - forethought and planning are mainly the creatures of the front of the cerebral cortex. In a fight to improve who we are, to think globally while acting locally, and to plan for the collective long term is a war with the very animals we are.

If there is a God that made us, he fucked up.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Jackson Z.
Jackson Z5 years ago

The fatty foods that are most addictive to both children and adults are the ones surrounded by sugar and refined flour or involve unnatural trans fats or excess vegetable oil, this isn't a problem with natural fatty foods, they are in an entirely different category. Same with sugar, actually. Fruit isn't going to be a big deal where soda and candy will be.

That's the only problem here. Talk about personal choice all you want, but children do not have the capacity to understand why these things are bad for them, and teaching them at that age is at best hope that they will retain it as adults and isn't as effective when they're still kid (I have worked with hundreds of children who tried deliberately rejecting the restrictions their parents put on them).

That's to be expected and worked around in kids, though, not brushed aside under the banner of personal choice. School meals, in particular, are deplorable because they give all this personal choice to make dangerous decisions to kids who do not reasonably have the ability to make those yet.

Adults can be addicted too, but they can also be held accountable for it.

Randi L.
Randi Levin5 years ago

It is not just the soda and sugary snacks that are making our children fat and ill.

In fact it is also the enormous prevelance of prepackaged foods that are loaded with chemicals artificial flavorings and colors, salts and sugars. Too many parents rely on these foods for an easy fix yet these foods are making your kids ill and potentially obese. For more information and recipes please see which offers insight, guidance and alternative recipes to help parents raise healthier kids!

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 years ago

sugar in moderation is not harmful at all.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 years ago

So is caffeine, but sugar is not reallly that harmful. We waste too much time on the little stuff when we are being poisoned by much more toxic stuff daily.

Ruth P.
Ruth P5 years ago

Sugar and fat are "addictive" because they are necessary for human (and most other animal) life. No, we don't have to eat just sugar and vegetable oil or something, and that doesn't have the extra health benefits that you get from sweet fruits or fatty nuts. But complaining about an "addiction" to sugar and fat is complaining about an "addiction" to food. If you want to free yourself of food addiction, go and join an ascetic cult. Leave it out of discussions on health, please.

Our children are addicted to water, too! They react so badly and crave it desperately if we withhold it from them! Everybody panic!