Can they have a lolly pop? A sugar-loaded milk drink? A Slushie in summer? A Candy Cane at Christmas?
No – actually I am not OK with that….unless I am right there with you and can make an informed decision about the sugar-loaded product, based on what else they have consumed today – or are likely to consume for the rest of today.
Why am I so strict about how much sugar my kids have?
Because I have to take them home with me and watch them go through the sugar high that will inevitably be followed by the blood sugar low, the grumpy child who can’t deal with their emotions during this sugar low, and the low mood child who has a sugar hangover the next day.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the “Sugar Police” – there is no quitting sugar at my place – but the sugar we do consume is measured and moderated (not measured as in a measuring spoon – but you know what I mean).
We have smoothies at home – they have a banana and milk in them – sometimes berries too. We have honey on our cereal sometimes. We have home made cakes and cookies. We eat real pieces of fruit. Hey sometimes we even have icy poles – store bought not home made. When we have pancakes on a Sunday morning we have Maple syrup and Lemon and Sugar (Not together – that is against the rules!)
What we don’t have is the following – quite long – list:
- Soft Drinks,
- Fruit Juice,
- Fruit Roll Up’s,
- Sweet Biscuits/Cookies that aren’t home made,
- Ice Cream daily,
- Store bought custard,
- Yoghurt squishies,
- Sugar coated cereal
After a recent sleepover, Mr 7 came home and told me what they had done that morning. They had been to a trampoline park in the morning and in the time between breakfast and coming home just after lunch he had consumed – a shop bough packaged muffin, a frozen slushie, chicken nuggets, fries and fanta and I am sure there was something else on that list as well. What followed that afternoon was a downward spiral of a child who had wild emotions, poor impulse control, low mood and a horrible attitude. The next day – a child that was sunken eyed and depressive.
My kids wouldn’t normally consume that much refined sugar in a day let alone a three hour window.
Why is it so OK for other people to load our children up with refined sugar? It seems as though every opportunity we have in our society for a gathering or celebration, out come the sweet treats – at Christmas kids go to school brandishing candy canes, they are given plastic baubles filled with chocolates, bags of lollies at the work Christmas do.
Sugar is not a harmless product in our diet and the here is much evidence to show that the sugar addiction we have as a society is putting our futures at risk – this article in the Guardian says it so much more eloquently than I can.
I know that you think ‘ Oh one little treat won’t hurt’ but your little treat, combined with the six others he is offered today – all add up to harm in a small body when it is faced with overload of a non-nutrient that it doesn’t really need to survive.
They don’t need soft drink, or lollies, or chocolates – water and a piece of fruit will do just fine. Equipping our kids with a lower satiety for sugar will serve them well in the world we live in today – sure when they are teenagers they will probably go on a sugar binge or two – just like they will go on an alcohol binge or two – but they will be able to experience how it makes them feel afterwards – and help them to find their limits and control their own sugar intake as adults.
So when I say “thanks but no thanks”, or tell them they can save it for dessert – please don’t be offended or put out – I am just helping my child to make the best choice when they aren’t able to themselves.