Saturday, March 18, 2006


Sugar Culture

I am constantly debating how to create the appropriate "Sugar Culture" in my house. The extremes, perhaps: Anything goes just bolus 'till you drop or Alexandra Jamieson's (girlfriend of Super Size Me's Morgan Spurlock) organic, caffeine-free, animal liberation inspired, sugar-free, millet-popping herbal tea bonanza. We fit somewhere inbetween, being vegetarians, but the sugary edges are blurry, and I wonder how influential a young child's diet is on their future habits and health. It is undeniable however; families adopt an attitude towards consumption that kids follow. Sometimes it bleeds into other realms; material objects, environmental stewardship, cultural diet, etc. Being a type 1 diabetic, I've tried to be neutral about sugar some days, I rage against its chemistry the next, decide its worth the bite now and again on other days.

Web pediatrician Dr. Green's article on sugar and kids is annoyingly uncommitted: "The effect of sugar intake on children's behavior is a hotly debated topic in pediatrics. Parents and educators often contend that sugar and other carbohydrate ingestion can dramatically impact children's behavior, particularly their activity levels. Physicians, on the other hand, have looked at controlled studies of sugar intake and have not found hypoglycemia or other blood sugar abnormalities in children who are consuming large amounts of sugar."

Everything is good in moderation, including moderation, they say. But is there reason to ban things from the house (such as high fructose corn syrup). How have you managed to "contain" the madness? Have you had your cake and eaten it too??

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2005 Jun;49(3):403-9. Epub 2006 Mar 16.Links
[Introduction of sucrose in the diet plan of persons with type 1 diabetes: its influence in the glycemic control.]

[Article in Portuguese]

Costa PC, Franco LJ.

To evaluate the influence of sucrose intake in the glycemic control, ten adolescents with type 1 diabetes were followed during eight months. Initially, they received personalized orientation on diet, self monitoring blood glucose and insulin dose adjustment; after four months, all patients introduced sucrose in their afternoon meals, throught the method of carbohydrate counting. Total cholesterol and triglycerides levels were measured in the beginning and in the final of the study. Hemoglobin A1C levels were measured in the beginning, after four months without and after four months with intake of foods with sucrose. All patients showed adequate pubertal development and growth; two had overweight and the others were eutrophic. After four mounths of follow up, the frequency of self monitoring blood glucose was reduced (p< 0.001). Total cholesterol and triglycerides values were in the normal range and A1C values decreased during the observed period (p= 0.027). Conclusion: the consumption of foods with sucrose, using the technique of carbohydrate counting, did not affect the metabolic control of adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
I'm always struggling with what is too much junk and if I'm limiting it to the point where my kids will rebel and scraf everything in sight when they're older.

I worry about quick spikes in blood sugar when Brendon eats something sweet (which isn't often). Is it damaging? I guess based on Ellen's info it isn't.

I think we fall into the same category as you, but we eat a bit more meat (mostly chicken and fish).

I have a crusade against trans-fats because both sides of my family are heart attack/high blood pressure prone, and I worry more about that for Brendon.

As far as junk food goes, I try to limit it to special occasions like birthdays. If it's been a while and they beg for Scooby Snacks (graham snacks, not the dog biscuits that Scooby made look oh so yummy), then I'll buy those and they go through them in about a week.

My approach toward junk food was like this before Brendon was diagnosed, but my anti-trans-fat attitude has been since after diagnosis.

Sorry if my ramble was incoherent :)
Not incoherent at all! I think I've struggled most with what is available vs. what my daughter thinks is edible!
My older son isn't too into sweets. I don't think I've ever seen him actually finish a lollipop, and his halloween candy lasts forever. My little guy, well he'd sell me on the street for chocolate.

We don't have a lot of junk food in the house (outside of Cheetos. I believe firmly in Cheetos.) but I don't take a very restrictive approach. I think it comes from attending a catholic college and watching all the former catholic school girls around me go off the deep end once they got away from their parent's restrictions.

Gotta give the kids some skills to make smart choices - can't do that if the choice never comes up.
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