This morning the CBS Morning Show featured the recommendation from the American Heart Association that every child ages 2 to 18 should reduce his/her sugar intake to less than than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugars (sucrose, fructose, honey) each day. (The average child in the US consumes 3 times that every day.) One of the authors, Miriam Vos, M.D. from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia commented that, “Children who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain and low-fat dairy products that are good for their health”. Added sugars are any sugars used in processing and preparation or added at the table. Just look at the Nutrition Label on all products you buy under Carbohydrates, then sugars. The number is in grams–just divide by 4 to get the number of teaspoons. Starting in 2018 manufacturers will be required to list the amount of added sugars on all labels.
Many children with ADHD do much better eating very low or zero sugar! Try a no-sugar diet for a week or two and see if your child looks, feels, and acts better!! Then challenge him with sugar and see if he gets worse. The directions for this are in my book, “Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child.” Try substituting xylitol for the sugar.
Many children with ADHD and/or autism behave better with a diet very low in sugar and corn syrup although studies challenging sugar in children with ADHD have had mixed results causing most professionals to conclude, “Sugar has nothing to do with ADHD!” Many parents would disagree! However, none of the studies have tested the effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which could be more revealing. If you want to see if your child reacts to sugar, you will find directions for this test in my book, Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child: Natural Solutions for Hard-to-Raise Children.
You may be saying, “There is no way to get my child off sugar! He craves it! He even licks his fingers then dips them in the sugar canister. Then licks off the sugar. He has even stolen sugary treats in stores! It was so embarrassing!”
Here’s something you can try to replace the sugar in his/her diet. Start substituting xylitol, a safe, even beneficial sweetener for the regular sugar (sucrose) in his diet. You may be able to purchase it in your grocery store or you can buy it online. I’ve been using Ideal for well over a year. I think there are other brands too. I like the taste–I sprinkle it on fresh berries, and it helps me eat blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries that are often a little sour. Of course, those berries are nutritional winners for everyone so I eat them every day. I even have baked with xylitol. I just made a delicious Cherry Crisp with natural dark sweet cherries, white whole wheat flour, butter, and xylitol for a friend in a nursing home (and for me!).
Xylitol is even thought to be good for you helping to grow beneficial bacteria in the gut. It also may help to prevent ear infections!!! The research seems to be mixed on that but if you’re looking for a sugar and HFCS replacement, xylitol is the way to go!! No, I don’t own any stock in xylitol companies, I just like to use it and want you to know about it! Let me know how you get along and what your family thinks!
I was recently looking for something in our frozen foods section of our grocery. I was amazed to find one sweet breakfast item that seemed to shout out the message, “30% More Icing!” I was amazed! After all, the government recently set lower sugar guidelines for all Americans. What kind of responsible company would be advertising that it had increased its icing (sugar) by 30% when we are all supposed to be reducing our intake! They also advertise that these pastries are “gooey, flakey and happy!” To top it off, this product contains yellow #5 and yellow #6 artificial food dyes, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup! Not the recipe for a happy, successful morning at school!
So do read all labels and look for the amount of sugar in the products. It will be on the Nutrition Facts Label under carbohydrates and is reported in grams. Four grams is about 1 teaspoon. Read the ingredients list to see if artificial food dyes are present.