Why don’t I give my children sugar?
I have been wanting to write about this for a very long time because it has been on my mind a lot. Do we need sugar? Does our body need it and most importantly, do our children need sugar?
My toddler is almost three years old and I can’t lie – he did try chocolate, he had maybe 5 lollypops in total, and he did try other sweets here and there but, he has them so so rarely, I can’t even remember the last time he ate a candy. My 16 month old never had any sweets or chocolate and I’m not planning to introduce it to him any time soon. I get judged for it sometimes and that happens with many things I do, but as a parent, I know what’s best for my children.
Our body needs sugar in order to survive, grow, repair itself. There are many different kinds of sugar and we find it in almost all foods however, there is good as well as bad sugar. All carbohydrates break down into sugar in our bodies; therefore sugars are carbohydrates. It is not necessary however to include sugary foods or added sugars in the diet in order for our body to make energy.
Believe it or not, even carbohydrates like pasta or rice break down into sugar. So if there is sugar in all the foods we eat, why do we need to consume refined and added sugar? I am no food expert or nutritionist; I am only writing about my opinions and experiences and I do think that eating foods with added sugar is bad for our bodies and we do not need it; we want it. It is not a necessity, it’s a desire. In our family, we get our sugars from all the food we eat in general and fruits have enough anyway. As snacks, we always opt for fruits, vegetables, dairy i.e cheese, or nuts. I am also trying to cut back on biscuits, crisps and pretzels.
It might be hard when everyone else in the family doesn’t quite agree with you, but Helena from The Queen of Collage suggests that having everyone in the house agree to a no sugar household does help a lot. Her girls have tasted sweets and chocolate but aren’t so keep, opting for fruits and veggies instead.
Read my latest post on healthy dried fruits that my children enjoyed, especially the coconut chips.
Why don’t I give my children sweets and chocolate, plus many other things that contain a lot of sugar?
Sugar is bad for our bodies, bad for our health and bad for our teeth. I see this on myself and perhaps I am more sensitive to it than others, but there is no need to put my children through the same experiences. I strongly believe it is not necessary in our diets. I do not want my children to visit the dentist for fillings or because their teeth hurt; nor do I want to increase the risk of a heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many other health risks.
I have been through situations when people have tried to make me feel horrible for not giving my children sweets. I remember of one time when I was at a friend’s house and because there were so many children, she opened a bag of sweets and served all of them. I told her my child won’t have any and the adults gave me really evil looks, but I kept seeing how those children ate the sweets one after another and some of them weren’t even two years old yet. My boy was two and a half at the time and he didn’t even ask for one, let alone cry or throw a tantrum. I gave him a pear instead and he happily took it and ate it, but one of the women in the room laughed at me and said:
“All the kids are having sweets and you’re giving him a pear ?! I know of a lady that never allowed her children to eat any sweets. Her child would wake up at 3am every night and open the kitchen drawer and eat all the sweets from there.”
My question is – What sweets is my child going to eat at 3am if I never have them in my house in the first place?
People also tell me that if I don’t allow my children sweets now, it’s like I’m forcing them not to do something; therefore it’s against their will, and once they will grow up and start eating them, they will find it hard to stop. One even told me, after telling her that my toddler is not allowed chocolate, that “I feel sorry for all the children whose parents don’t allow them sweets”. I am not only telling my children that ‘No, you can’t have them.” I always tell them WHY they can’t have them and I believe that once my children know the disadvantages that sugar have for them, they will surely choose the same as me.
Victoria from Healthy Vix agrees with me and I love what she does in her family:
I don’t buy anything at home with added sugar in and don’t allow them to have sweets. After watching ‘Sugar the bitter truth’ on YouTube by Dr Robert Lustig and reading lots about how bad sugar is for us, I don’t want my kids to have it. It’s not a ‘treat’ as we often call it in society, but far from it. It’s metabolised in the same way as alcohol in our bodies, is a poison and is just as damaging (that video explains this). When my kids used to have sugary foods occasionally, before I stopped it, I would really notice they’d get more stroppy much easier and for longer.
Catherine at Passports and Adventures also limits the amount of sugar her son has, and I think its amazing that other mums do it too which really shows how much they care about their children’s health, and I’m not the only one being judged.
During our son’s first two years, sugar was extremely limited after my husband watched a documentary. I didn’t want him eating sweets, biscuits or chocolate anyway and becoming used to them. It is still very much a rarity now he’s 4 and we clearly see the effects of him eating something like sweets or chocolate within 20 minutes. He turns wild. Running around, bouncing, can’t sit still. So it’s only once in a while he’ll get something sugary.
From reading this post, I am sure you might think my children never even touch anything with added sugar. I wish I was more strict but, in reality, he does have home made cakes and pastries (and I don’t make them often at all), or very rarely I will give him 2 scoops of ice-cream, a square of chocolate, or a candy, and by very rarely, I really mean it. I am not saying that we shouldn’t have sugar AT ALL; I didn’t restrict them completely in our diets. I am not saying I never allow my children sweets and chocolate, because there are rare exceptions. What I am saying is that I try to avoid them as often as I can (and I am so blessed to have such an understanding toddler, which doesn’t throw a tantrum when I don’t give them to him) and that reducing the amount I give to my children, and opt for healthier options instead, is always a better idea and the body and health of our children will thank us.