The sweetness that is sugar, also known as dextrose, maltose, corn syrup, glucose, or fructose is loved by the masses. Go to any celebratory occasion and you will likely see cake and soda as a focal point. My kids love sweet things, they always have. I try to stay mindful about sugar consumption in our house, but it's not easy.
5 Reasons To Ditch Sugar For Happier & Healthier Kids
Sugar lurks in almost all packaged goods; crackers, breads, cookies, cereals, protein bars, and more. While I will never eliminate sugar completely from our home, I try to keep sugar consumption to a minimum and reserved for special occasions like birthday parties. Why do I monitor my children's sugar intake?
1. Sugar makes kids moody.
Like many other toxic drugs, sugar is addictive. In fact it might be one of the most addictive substances in the world. When sugar is ingested it forces a release of the brain’s happy hormones, which causes brain chemistry disturbance and leads to more and more sugar cravings to obtain that unnatural “high.” The result is mood swings and constantly looking for a sugar fix. (learn more)
2. Sugar causes inflammation and lowers immune response.
No matter how much we fight it, cold and flu season happens every year. We need our children's immune function running at full capacity. Unfortunately, consuming sugar has been shown to decrease immune response and increase inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the root of all disease. So, if your children eat sugar on a regular basis they could very well be walking around with chronically depressed immune systems. Couple this with chronic sugar-induced inflammation and your child is a good candidate for catching every cold and flu around.
Maintaining adequate energy levels depends on balanced blood sugar. When kids consume sugar their blood sugar levels spike too high—and what comes up must go down. Inevitably blood sugar then crashes leaving kids drained, hungry, and tired. Sugar consumption also puts enormous stress on the adrenal glands, that regulate energy levels and hormone production. Removing sugar from your children's diets and balancing meals with healthy fats and protein will ensure your kids have enough energy for all their daily activities.
4. Sugar feeds disease.
Sugar consumption has been associated with almost all contemporary diseases; obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. In fact, according to Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure, sugar FEEDS cancer cells. Enough said.
5. Sugar robs the body of nutrients.
Sugar provides no nutritional value. In fact, sugar is considered an ANTI-nutrient. Meaning, in order for your body to process sugar, it actually has to pull nutrients from the body to digest it. Sugar is also hard on your liver. When sugar is ingested, the liver starts working overtime.
Finding a balance.
Sugar has nothing to offer our kids nutritionally. When sugar is consumed, immune function suffers, nutrient levels suffer, and brain chemistry suffers. In children, this is particularly worrying because their bodies are so small and their brains are still developing. Balance, as always, is the key. We can't always avoid cookies and cake at parties, nor should we! Sweet treats are a part of life and should be enjoyed on occasion. If the bulk of a child's diet is full of real, whole, unprocessed food parents won't need to worry too much about a birthday party sugar-fest.