Sugar addiction is a global problem, and our children are raised believing that sugar and sweets are a reward for being good or a way to celebrate a special occasion.
Thus, the birthday cakes are the most important thing on a birthday party, our holiday tables are full of sweets and just think about the entire celebration of Easter, with the chocolate bunnies, or Halloween, and Trick-or-treating.
Yet, the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, Grace Cooper, decided to omit refined sugar, dairy, grains, and processed foods from her diet, and follow the Paleo diet.
Her breakfast contains carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, eggs in coconut oil, steamed broccoli, a quarter of an avocado, and a spoonful of sauerkraut, while her dinner consists of organic chicken and vegetables.
Shan, the mother of Grace, claims that her daughter’s immune system is extremely strong, so she has only had one cold so far. Yet, she maintains that even though she will still guide Grace when she is older, she will not force her to follow this diet.
Despite sugar, baby food is full of chemicals, sodium, preservatives, lead, and fluoride, all of which can have disastrous effects on the health of children and toddlers.
On the other hand, as the taste buds of babies are developing and sensitive, there is no need of eating refined foods since they can be perfectly satisfied with some organic source of sugar.
Numerous baby foods are extremely high in sugar, even though their labels are deceiving. Namely, the vegetables and fruits are processed using ultra-high heat and shipped to baby food manufactures, which boil them down, eliminating most of the nutrients, and leaving only the high sugar levels.
For instance, take a look at the nutritional values of two 71- gram servings of commercial banana purees and an actual mashed banana:
*Sugar: 8.7 grams (naturally occurring )
Sodium: < 1 milligram
Fiber: 1.8 grams
Earth’s Best 1st Bananas
*Sugar: 12 grams
Sodium: 20 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
*4 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar
Gerber 1st Foods Banana Purée
*Sugar: 13 grams
Sodium: 5 milligrams
Fiber: < 1 gram
When it comes to the safe amount of sugar our children can consume, according to Dr. Svetlana Pomerantes, MD:
“Let’s start by looking at American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations. The new guidelines call for less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for children ages 2 to 18 years. That includes no more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks per week. I advise parents to read food labels, find ‘sugar,’ and do the math — every 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. “
“The worst sugars are in processed foods, sports drinks, pop, desserts, and fruit juice. Don’t rush to introduce fruit juice — it has no nutritional value.”
Similarly, Dr. Edward Gaydos, DO, says:
“Children younger than 2 years should have no sugar at all”, and adds that “eating brings joy, but that joy should be geared toward the process of satisfying hunger and spending time with family. Children can’t choose a well-balanced diet. But adults can, and should — right from the beginning.”
Sugar is highly addictive and leads to obesity and type-2 diabetes, you should work hard to lower your child’s consumption of refined sugars, and here are some useful tips:
-Lower your sugar intake to set an example
-Try to eat at home as often as possible
-Try to explain the benefits of healthy foods and make sure you have food rules when going out
-Avoid keeping sugar-rich foods at home
-Explain your goals to other members of your family, so they can support you
-Do not reward your children with candy
Yet, if you have a sweet tooth, do not despair, as you do not need to forget about desserts if you decide to ditch refined sugar from your diet, since there are perfectly healthy alternatives you can use instead, like honey and pure maple syrup.