Staying with my family in Germany shows me how lucky I am to be surrounded by like minded Moms back home, where most watch carefully the sugar intake of their children. Here the day starts with juice, sweetened yogurt or white bread with marmalade. Then there is ice-cream, cake and other treats being passed out during the day. Not to forget more juice during lunchtime…
It is not that my kids are deprived of everything considered yummy or sweet, but it is important to me more than anything that their little bodies get what they need. That the amount of sugar is watched. I feel it is my responsibility to help their bodies grow into healthy adults. That I teach their palate to appreciate many different flavors and not just crave sweet. I wish people would see or understand that they really aren’t doing these kids any favors!
Many times I gently tried to advocate against a sweet diet to just receive eye rolls and feel like the most annoying guest one could possibly host. So I now zip it and try to damage control what goes into my kids mouth.
I am surprised that the knowledge of how damaging sugar is isn’t common or well received here. Not more than 5% of our daily calories should come from added sugars (and this number is high). However, a recent UK survey showed that kids are getting almost 12-16% of their daily calories from added sugar.
And according to Health Services at Columbia University, when you eat 100 grams of sugar (as you find in only 1 liter of soda to give one example), your white blood cells are 40 % less effective at killing germs. This can hinder your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating the sugar! Sugar competes for space in your white blood cells with Vitamin C.
White blood cells need Vitamin C to destroy bacteria and viruses. Sugar and Vitamin C are very similar in their chemical structure. So when you eat sugar, it directly competes for space in your immune cells with Vitamin C! The more sugar in your system, the less Vitamin C can get into your white blood cells.
And certainly not all sugars are created equal. Fruits or veggies which contain sugar too also deliver vitamins and fiber (to name two) for digestion. But when you take corn and strip it of all vitamins and minerals to make high fructose corn syrup, your body has to take nutrients from your bones, skin and vital systems to break down the highly processed sweetener. The kidneys will have to stimulate more urine production to water down the sugar, which is dehydrating and speeds up signs of aging and disease.
Knowing that …
- Sugar is highly addictive because of its massive dopamine release in the brain;
- That fructose intake taxes/overloads your liver which forces it to turn it into fat. And due to its effects on hormones and the brain, sugar has more than one fat-promoting effect
- Sugar can cause Insulin Resistance which may lead to Metabolic Syndrome and/or Diabetes
- Many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to Cancer since sugar feeds cancer cells
- Sugar is a leading contributor to Obesity in kids and adults
And last but not least …
- SUGAR raises your Cholesterol and can promote Heart Disease (…not fat as previously thought and taught.)
…so WHY poison your kids?…
Again, I am not advocating for kids to live in abstinence of sugar, but to pay attention to the amounts.
Once sugar is taken out of your diet or cut down, it takes the body a week to adjust and the cravings subside.