Sugar and Kids

by pew

Sugar & Kids

White refined sugar – you’ll find it in sweets, cereals, tinned foods, drinks and in many more things and it is causing untold damage to your child. The power of sugar to harm should not be underestimated. Do you know how many of the foods you feed your child are laced with sugar? Do you know how much sugar your child intakes in a day? Do you know the long term health issues of consuming sugar?

Every parent should consider these questions seriously because your child’s future depends on it. Everyone ‘knows’ sugar is bad for them but most people do not take it seriously enough. Just knowing how white refined sugar reacts in your body should be enough to put you off.

What sugar does in your body

When you consume white refined sugar (in whatever form), it goes straight through the stomach wall without being digested. Your blood sugar level then rises way too high and your pancreas has to produce insulin in order to bring it down again. If your body didn’t rebalance your blood sugar level, you would die.

And because whatever you ate is an empty food, void of any nutrients, your blood sugar level then drops and you have the feeling you are hungry or dissatisfied. You inevitably then consume more sugar rocketing your blood sugar level again, and again overworking your pancreas.

There is no balance for your body whilst you are stuck in this cycle. Insulin is pumped into your blood stream more often than it should be, because of the sugar and this promotes the storage of fat, resulting in weight gain.

Energy Boost?

People believe that sugar actually gives them an energy boost, and food manufacturers would like you to believe that. But in fact the rush you feel when you eat sugar is in fact from the insulin pumping into your blood stream. This cycle is repeated whenever you consume sugar and the constant rising and falling of your blood sugar level is putting pressure on your body and mind.

It is obvious that regular consumption of sugar cannot be good for you. But people mistakenly believe that if they don’t add sugar to anything they eat or drink they are ok (for example not adding sugar to their coffee or tea). But sugar is in virtually every processed food that you consume. It is cheap and tasty and manufacturers use it for those very reasons.

Increase in use of sugar

Over the last thirty years the use of sugar, by food manufacturers, has increased substantially. For instance in 1978 Kellogg’s Special K had 9.6g of sugar per 100g, today it has 17g, about the same as you will find in vanilla ice cream! Tinned foods such as soups have also seen a large increase in sugar content. I won’t even mention the sugar levels in chocolates or sweets.

Sugar is addictive and makes you want to eat more. Also, we have a natural sweet tooth and food companies have increased their use of sugar in order to attract those ’sweet toothed’ customers. Some of the biggest increases in sugar levels over the last thirty years are in cereals, particularly cereals targeted at children.

Food companies targeting children

In fact you have to question all the marketing that you see for children’s foods. You’ll see on the television advertisements stating that such and such a product has so many grains, energy, protein etc. BUT, how much sugar does it have, they’ll never advertise that fact, of course not. I recently saw an advert for NUTELLA, with them stating how healthy it was. What nonsense, it is full of sugar! But yes, it has some milk in it and they focus on the calcium, they must really think people are stupid…

The real effects of Sugar

As a parent you need to be aware of these facts and keep an eye on how much sugar your child is consuming in a day. Not just ‘direct’ sugar but also through products with hidden quantities of sugar. If your child is consuming too many of these they are not getting the nutrients and minerals that they need. Instead, their bodies are being loaded with refined sugars and empty calories. Sugar actually robs your child’s body of vital nutrients and leaches minerals and B Vitamins.

Sugar also ;

  • Suppresses the immune system, making us open to bacterial infections
  • Increases inflammation
  • Throws off the body’s ability to both absorb and maintain proper balance of essential minerals (i.e., calcium, magnesium, chromium, copper)
  • Creates hormonal imbalances
  • Creates mood, mental and behavior shifts such as depression, hyperactivity, anxiety, aggression, inability to concentrate or think clearly and drowsiness

Illnesses & Behavioral problems

With this knowledge in hand it is not too hard to realize that constant and regular consumption of white refined sugar is not good for your child, or you. Many illnesses and behavioral problems can be linked to sugar consumption. You will find numerous ’scientific’ studies categorically stating that sugar has no effect on, ADHD for instance. But these studies are normally on a small group, for a short period of time and in a controlled environment (hospital), never in normal environments such as school or home.

But, common sense tells you the answer. You know how your child reacts to sugar and if you don’t, start to pay attention and you will soon see. You do not need any studies or ‘experts’ to tell you what you can work out for yourself.

The one reason people to do not realize the effects of sugar is that they cannot remember how it was, not to have sugar in their body. Try the following and I guarantee you will change the way you think about sugar, forever.

Sugar Detox

For four weeks cut out ALL sugar from your diet. It’s not easy but if you can commit to it and see it through you will be amazed at the results. It’s much harder than you can ever imagine and you will go through drug like symptoms (withdrawal, mood swings, sleeping badly etc). The first week or two is the hardest but after that you’ll notice increased levels of energy and you’ll be feeling generally fantastic. See it through the whole four weeks and then do the following.

Make sure you’re somewhere you can sit down and observe yourself and your body. Now take a bar of chocolate and eat it. You will begin to feel some sensations building up in your body that will not feel good at all. You will actually feel the sugar and insulin pumping through your blood stream. You may feel dizzy, you may need to go to the toilet or you may feel sick. Take good notice of what is happening in your body now, this is what happens every time you or your child consume sugar.  

I did this about five years ago and it changed my view on sugar forever. When I had my bar of chocolate I nearly fainted. I haven’t cut out sugar completely and I don’t think that is realistic but I am very careful about allowing the build up of sugar in my diet. I am also aware of feeling run down, lethargic or moody and inevitably it is linked to my diet, in particular sugar.

Be informed

Just by knowing the effects of white refined sugar and being aware how many products have ‘hidden’ sugars in them, you are well on the way to helping your child live a healthier and happier life.

You don’t need to stop all sugar, you just need to control the amount your child consumes. Your child will sleep better, respond better, feel better, be healthier, be calmer, concentrate better and be happier. It’s simple really, look at those packet ingredients and avoid sugar loaded products.

In our ‘time restricted’ lives it is hard, but making your own foods instead of relying on processed and packaged foods will in the long run contribute to the overall health of your child. Not only physically but mentally too. And you’ll save on all those visits to the doctor as you’ll have a much healthier child, one who recovers much quicker when/if he is ill.

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Aurelie April 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

Thank you so much for your articles, they all are very interesting!
I am really glad that you tackle this big subject : sugar.
So many people don’t realize how bad it is for you! All my life, I suffered a lot of trouble because of sugar. Mood swings, low energy and chronicle infections. i never thought sugar was the problem until a naturopath suggested to reduce my intake and all my trouble went away!! i could not believe it! Why nobody had told me before?! i have to admit it is very hard at first, it IS REALLY a drug! But now that i dont crave it anymore i would never go back to the old habit and will be very careful that my children don’t become little “junkies” like i was!
Thanks again !!

pew April 25, 2009 at 10:06 am

Thank you Aurelie. You’re right, most people have no idea how damaging sugar is and how it causes havoc with your health and emotional state. And yes, it is a drug, one that is not regulated and used freely by manufacturers to get people addicted to their products, particularly children!

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