Sugar is America’s number one food additive. Even our children are consuming between 120-150 pounds of refined sugar each year. Parents know that soda, candy and all sweets are not healthy choices for kids. What parents need to know is that neurofeedback evaluations of the brains of children before and after the consumption of sugar show dangerous and abnormal changes in brainwave activity. So we have scientific evidence of why so many ADHD children have been helped greatly just by eliminating sugar from the diet.
Over two-thirds of the refined sugar used in this country is added to manufactured food products. Parents need to become educated about how to read food labels; and more important, they need to read those labels! Cereals are loaded with sugar; that is why it is smart to buy the older, original cereal brands like Raisin Brand and Cheerios. All processed foods contain generous portions of sugar including otherwise healthy foods like peanut butter, canned fruits and veggies, soups and cured meats. If you really want to protect your child’s brain and your child’s health, learn to prepare and serve natural foods that have not been processed.
The chronic diseases that afflict more and more children each year can be prevented and reversed with sound nutrition. Diabetes is now rampant in kids. Parents and kids both need to learn the “label names” for sugar: sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, lactose, and the worse culprit of all “high-fructose corn syrup.” Currently the most popular form of refined fructose is corn syrup, which is added to hundreds of products. It is about 70 percent sweeter than sucrose; so while it adds fewer calories to the food, it is a very dangerous sweetener.
Are molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, and honey just as bad for your health as white sugar? Yes. Fructose from natural fruits and natural fruit juices is the one type of sugar that has some nutritional benefits and is safe in modest amounts. But you can still produce a “sugar high” by eating too many grapes or too much watermelon. Most forms of sugar cause blood sugar levels to rise and hence demand the production of insulin by the pancreas. The one exception is fructose which is metabolized by the liver and does not demand insulin.
“There is no doubt,” writes David Reuben, M.D., “that diabetes mellitus – otherwise known as ‘sugar diabetes’ – is caused by excessive consumption of refined sugar.” “Sugar high” occurs because simple sugars break down quickly into glucose and are too rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. With an influx of rapidly absorbed simple sugars, the pancreas overproduces insulin to protect our brain and other vital organs from sugar overdose.
The amount of sugar consumed by most children produces a metabolic roller coaster which adversely affects brain activity and also adversely affects the adrenal glands, liver and pancreas. Obesity in children has become a national epidemic.
The digestion of sugar requires B-complex vitamins, calcium and magnesium which are undersupplied by the Standard American Diet (SAD). The high-sugar American diet is helping to deprive children of the B vitamins needed by their brains and nervous system, as well as the calcium and magnesium needed by their bones and teeth. Scientific tests have shown that the 6 teaspoons of sugar contained in an 8 ounce soft drink decreases the number of bacteria destroyed by while blood cells by 25%.
Joan Sloss, Ed.D, CMMT