Sugar – is it that bad?

OK, lets be clear about this, yes, sugar is BAD.

It is of no real nutritional value and has loads of negative side effects, which long term include obesity, heart disease, Type II diabetes and possibly even cancer.

Sugar is metabolized by your body like a fat, but unlike fats which trigger the “I’m full” cues your body needs to stop eating, sugar does not, so you can and often will, keep eating. Sugar also hits the reward centres in your brain but as your body builds up a resistance it requires larger and larger volumes to get the same effect, So the more you eat the more you want.

Then there are the emotions around sugar. Not only is sugar an integral part of many of the major positive events and celebrations in our life, birthday cakes, mince pies, lekach, keer, but also of the small, mundane interactions of our daily lives. Who doesn’t remember the lolly if you’re good while we’re out, or a sweet given to you for ‘being brave’ when you’ve fallen over. These are things we carry with us for life, they can also have an effect on the decisions we make about food consciously or not, so it’s something we need to be aware of, especially for our children as it’s from this place that comfort eating and food obsessions come from.

I don’t know about you, but this is not something I want for my self and certainly not for my kids.

This is a "Sweety Monster" by Niamh, age 7.

This is a “Sweety Monster” by Niamh, age 7.

So now you’re feeling  a) slightly depressed (and prob in need of a choccy bar) or b) ready to go on a rampant cupboard raiding mission to burn all the evil lurking there, lets pull ourselves back into the real world. Unless you become a complete food obsessive, constantly hovering over your children and exerting an iron will, you will be unable to avoid sugar entirely. I have to say I have a massive sweet tooth and although I have done stints where I have managed to avoid it, I miss sugar, loads of really nice food has sugar in it and it’s really tough to isolate your children by banning it from their diet entirely.

With this idea in mind, delay giving your kids sweet, refined foods for as long as possible, under the age of 1 you have complete control of their diet (although obviously not of what they put in their mouth, “carpet fluff anyone?”) upwards of this age social factors such as siblings, friends and family start taking more of a role.

I will apologise sincerely for giving you another thing to ‘debate’ with the mother/mother-in-law about. But this is not something you are doing because you’re stingy, so explain that to your child’s grandparents/aunts/uncles. If they want to treat your child give them a pack of stickers, take them to the park, lie on the floor and play cars with them, lets be honest memories built from a fun joint experience are far, far more positive than the fleeting joy of a packet of gummy bears.


For those of you with a bit of free time or an interest in the science this is worth a watch:

This is an easier read for those of you who don’t:

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