Most kids in America eat a whopping 2 whole cups of sugar every day. How is this possible? Processed Sugars are added to everything from cereals, bread, sweets, waffles, bbq sauces, fruit juices, pizza, everything.
One of the biggest favors a parent can do for their child is to get them off of white sugar, brown sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Almost all processed foods nowadays contain copious amounts of these sugars, or even worse, alternatives like aspartame. (Ingredients like Fructose should be avoided as well because its just another name for corn syrup.)
Sugar is addictive. So addictive that the sooner a parent makes the decision to rid their house of sugar, the easier it will be in the long run to wean their child off.
Similar to cocaine and other addictive drugs, processed sugars and corn syrup stimulates dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine release triggers a "high" because dopamine is our pleasure/reward neurotransmitter. When we regularly consume sugar, the brain tries to bring dopamine levels down by reducing the number of dopamine receptors, so it will then take even more sugar to produce the same effect. This leads to sugar addiction.
“Research shows that sugar can be even more addicting than cocaine,” says Cassie Bjork, R.D., L.D. “Sugar activates the opiate receptors in our brain and affects the reward center, which leads to compulsive behavior....”
"I'm serious when I say that evidence is mounting that too much added sugar can lead to true addiction," says Alan Green, M.D.
In fact, many recovered drug addicts testify that they only successfully overcame their drug addiction when they quit eating processed sugar.
When we feed kids processed sugar we are unintentionally setting up the stage not only for food addictions but also for ADHD and or depression. When we consume processed sugars, it causes a blood sugar high. Sugar enters the blood stream quickly, causing an energy rush. This is what causes many children to become hyperactive after consuming processed sugar and sweets. After this stage, the body will go into the hypoglycemia stage, when there is a blood sugar low,. At this stage, children will be lethargic, depressed, and/or angry.
The blood sugar high and lows caused by processed sugars should be avoided at all costs for both mental health and physical well-being.
Adults also experience serious problems with sugar consumption.
“Medical addiction changes brain chemistry to cause binging, craving, withdrawal symptoms, and sensitization,” says Greene. “Excess added sugar can do this too, through changes in the same pathways as addiction to amphetamines or alcohol. Sugar addiction could be an even harder habit to break, according to recent evidence about how added sugar affects our stress hormones.”
Bottom line: Sugar contributes to depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, binge eating, and even drug (prescription and/or non-prescription) addiction in children and adults.
What is Processed Sugar?
When sugar cane or sugar beets are processed into white or brown sugar, all of natural fiber and minerals it would normally have are removed. When we consume foods with fiber in their natural state, it takes time and energy for the body to break it down. Therefore, it doesn't cause the sugar highs that processed sugars do.
Today all Processed Sugars made from sugar beets or sugar cane should be avoided completely. 90% of Sugar Beets in the world are GMO. They are prone to mold contamination and therefore heavily sprayed with pesticides. Sugar cane is also heavily sprayed with pesticides. Brown sugar is usually just white sugar sprayed with brown coloring or with added molasses. It's a total scam.
Both white and brown sugar made from sugar beets or sugar cane should be completely avoided. White Sugar is usually made from GMO sugar beets or sugar cane. GMO sugar beets are heavily sprayed with cancer causing Roundup herbicide. White sugar can also be obtained from highly processed highly toxic sugar cane. (Brown sugar is considered to be "healthier" than white but is often just white sugar sprayed with brown color.) Sugar cane fields are heavily sprayed with deadly pesticides and herbicides. Regular consumption of dangerous pesticides present in sugar can cause neurological, behavioral, and physical health problems.
Sometimes sugar is replaced with high fructose corn syrup in processed foods. High fructose corn syrup is often labeled as fructose or fruit sugars which is terribly misleading to the consumer. High fructose corn syrup is made from GMO corn and is very liver toxic. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are neurotoxic and should not be used for children at all.
Healthy Sugars are Unprocessed Sugars in their natural state
In nature, sugar is found surrounded by fiber and nutrients. When sugar is processed it loses its fiber and nutrients, thereby causing blood sugar highs. With the rise in the rates of childhood neurological and behavioral disorders, like ADHD and Autism, it has become more important than ever to avoid sugar consumption.
Healthy alternatives to sugar include raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar.
How to Get Rid of Sugar Addiction
To successfully implement a sugar free diet, ALL junk food must be removed from the house. If its in the house, you and your kids will find it. Tip: if you want your kids to eat healthy, you set the example. Incorporate healthy foods at mealtimes. Eat dinner at home. Make sure that your family is eating wholesome meals with foods such as stone ground bread, organic fruits and vegetables, organic meats. If you are eating filling regular meals loaded with fiber and nutrients then the risk of turning to snacks lessens. A family effort will yield better results.
Joseph's Organic Bakery is a SUGAR FREE bakery. Their cakes and cookies are SUGAR Free, Trans fat free, soy free, corn free, and no Bromides. All breads and cakes are made with wholegrain stone ground ancient kamut grain.
M.P. Geulah is the author of Managing ADHD Without Medication: From a Mother's Perspective, a book about raising children with ADHD and Autism available at the Bakery or online at Amazon.