Sugar: Sweet Little Killer?

Candy SkullMaybe that sounds a little harsh for a blog claiming to be about positive parenting. What we’re talking about is the breaking news from 60 Minutes this week indicating that aside from the weight gain and cavities that we already associate with too much sugar, scientific research is showing that sugar is actually toxic to our bodies! A TOXIN… as in a harmful substance that can cause profound negative impacts including cancer and heart disease!!  Here is a link to the full article:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57407294/is-sugar-toxic/

Some parents have been limiting their children’s sugar consumption for years, seeking improved behavioral outcomes or other beneficial effects. Not only are these parents validated by the 60 Minutes report and all of the supporting scientific studies, but many more parents may join their ranks! Here are the highlights and some tips on how to integrate this information inthe context of day-to-day family life:

  • Peanut ButterKids (and all of us!) are eating more sugar than we realize. One can of soda has more sugar than the total recommended amount for an entire day, and it’s in everything from peanut butter to ketchup.
  • Once we start reading labels and becoming aware of how much sugar s in food, especially food that comes in a box or package, then we can moderate the amount of sugar our families consume.
  • The best strategy to reduce excessive amounts of sugar is to cook and eat real food rather than pre-packaged food.
  • The sugar found in fruit is a natural source of sugar that our bodies are used to processing. Fruit also contains fiber and other micro-nutrients, therefore it is okay to eat fruit.
  • Shop the “outer perimeter” of the grocery store where the food is more likely to be in its natural state and less likely to be pre-packaged and full of preservatives including synthetic sugar.
  • Try increasing the amount of vegetables consumed by your family.
  • Teach your children about what foods are good for them, and that too much sugar does bad things to our bodies.

Boy with bowl of vegetablesThe tricky part is implementing changes like these with children who already have a taste for pop tarts, soda, and all kinds of other sugar-laden food! We may not want to be the meanie who won’t allow a drop of sugar to pass their lips, but we also want our kids to learn good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. It’s helpful for our children to understand the impact of too much sugar in their diet so they can accept the parameters we put in place, such as soda only on special occasions. 

Balance is key. The bottom line is that we need to be educated, make informed decisions, and teach our children to do the same. How do you feel about the 60 Minutes report? Will you try to decrease the amount of sugar that your child consumes? What practical tips do you have to do this?

More on sugar and kids: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57407203-10391709/sugar-and-kids-the-toxic-truth/?tag=contentMain;contentBody

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