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  • Sugar

    So my daughteer is about to turn 1. And she's been eating solids since about 7 or 8 months, but is just now starting to take in a measurable amount on a daily basis. So I think we are moving away from "tasting" to actually eating.

    She is very much into self feeding, and always wants some of what we are having. And to a certain extent, I simply follow her lead and give her what she seems to be able to handle.

    But what about sugar? Do I need to avoid it 100%? are there better (natural) sugars out there? What are the effects of sugar that make it bad (stupid question, I should know this)?

  • #2
    I am speaking from not much knowledge either but I do limit DS's sugar for a couple of reasons. It makes him unable to sleep well. He has a hard time falling asleep too. I found that happens with just a little sugar within 3-4 hrs before bed. Also, I want to set up good habits for when he's old enough to choose his own foods and I'm not there to guide him. I would rather he chose "healthy" foods than sweets. If I want to give him something sweet I generally stick to strawberries, apples, etc. Most fruits will satisfy a sweet tooth. I think the idea is to just give them the best options you can so when they want something sweet, they choose from what they know.
    Hope this was helpful.


    • #3
      One thing I have recently started to look into is the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in everything. If something has a sweetener, the less processed the better! I mean, why does bread need it! If you are using a BBQ sauce one of the first few ingredients is HFCS. Recently we also have been eating to many PB+J's ----all sweet! Ahhh. So just remember to think of all the other sweeteners you and your child has gotten that day already, I bet it is too much even before that birthday cake!
      I am guilty of too much suger too, sometimes I hide a box of Milk Duds behind the monitor! Shhhhh!


      • #4
        I think that when they are young offering the "healthy"sweets is the way to go - strawberries, apples, etc. Put off the introduction of "real sugar" as long as possible. Some nutritionists describe sugar as "addicting" (and given my RAGING sweet tooth, Im in no position to argue). That having been said you can't avoid it forever. As my DD got older I would offer the fruit first but if that really wasnt what she wanted, would concede to something with sugar. We have always however established two things- "healthy food" before "sweet things" (no lollipops for breakfast!) and only 1 "sweet thing" a day. My DD often asks for her sweet thing after breakfast and I remind her that this will be her one sweet thing and that if she wants dessert after dinner it will have to be a healthy dessert- yogurt, fruit, etc. This has worked well for us- she will even now tell others that offer her sweet that she has already had her sweet thing for the day.
        As to the type of sugar I do think this is something we all need to pay more attention to. If you start reading about High Fructose Corn Syrup there's some really horrifying stuff out there. Many nutritionists think that our sky rocketting rates of childhood obesity and diabetes are directly related to how processed our food is and the presence of HFCS in it. And make no mistake if your food is processed AT ALL it is likely to have corn in it somewhere. We have learned this lesson the hard way. After battling almost 3 years of alternating constipation (no BM for 8 days!) to crippling stomach aches, blow out gas and diarrhea in our DD, after pediatricians, chiropractors, gastroenterologists, a diagnosis of megacolon, and then urologists when her dilated colon blew out her ureters and created urinary reflux I instituted a food elimination trial and discovered a SIGNIFICANT sensitivity to corn! Because corn doesnt make the list of "top 8" food allergens manufacturers are not required to identify it, yet it appears to be the fastest growing food allergy. provides a list of "suspect" ingredients- things that may (but may not) be corn derived- this list is 4 pages long! Its no longer good enough to read ingredients, you now have to know the ingredients of the ingredients. I now shudder to think that the first thing I was told to do when DD was a year and started with constipation was to put corn syrup in her milk! We also discovered that every laxative we had been given to blast her with was loaded with corn sweeteners and even the antibiotic she now lives on to prevent a urinary tract infection has to be specially compounded to avoid corn.
        I'll get off my soap box now, but let me just say in our house we're glad to see the corn go to the cows and cars!
        Carrie- Anna's mommy


        • #5
          I agree with other posters, stay away from high fructose corn syrup at all costs. Its definitely your worst of sugars.

          With sweets, I do not completely forbid sweets with DS but they are a treat, not a common food. One thing we have learned the hard way is once kids are introduced to the "good stuff" its so much harder to get them to go back to eating the good for you stuff. I used to make DS's frozen pops by juicing and freezing them. Then one day we were playing with a friend and she gave the kids those red, white, and blue pops...and it took a whole year for him to forget about that darn frozen pop! Everytime I tried to give him a popcicle he'd ask for the blue pop. So try and stick to fruits as much as possible and if you want to give her a sweet treat I would stick to homemade goodies since you know exactly what's in them instead of candy!

          As for side effects - sugar is very addictive. Here's a quote form here that explains some of the dangers of it.

          "As it is metabolized, sugar bypasses many parts of the digestive process, and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, raising the blood sugar level. It also produces a sharp rise in insulin, which is used by cells to absorb the sugar. Not only this, but sugar also causes the brain to release the chemical serotonin, boosting a person’s mood, and causing a mild feeling of happiness. As humans, we have been doubly reinforced to sugar; once by behavior-receiving it as a reward, and second, in the fact that it actually does produce some physical feelings of euphoria. Our bodies know that when they taste the sugar, the rush is coming."

          There are some better alternatives to sugar. A few things we use are stevia, xylitol, agave nectar, or raw honey.


          • #6
            Hi Ladies,
            I tripped across a website the other day run by a lady named Debra Lynn Dadd. I was looking for non-toxic options for household cleaners and she has what's called Debra's list for that purpose. But in the perusal of her website I also discovered that she has a section called sweet savy (or something like that) dedicated to baking with "natural" sweeteners - honey, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, etc. Her homepage is at Just thought it could provide "food for thought."
            Carrie - Anna's mommy


            • #7
              thanks for the links. I "knew" sugar was bad, but I needed a reminder of the reasons...


              • #8
                Sugar causes your body to release insulin, which in excessive amounts can cause free radical damage and inflamation. We need insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, but our bodies can become insensitive to the insulin which means more is needed to regulate sugar in the blood which means more free radical damage and inflamation which can lead to very bad things. (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, you name it..) This is why sugary foods are a bad idea.

                High fructose corn syrup is one of the things I have banned from our house (trans fats are another). Some good alternatives are stevia, agave nectar, and I'm not sure what other ones are good. Maple syrup and honey are natural and my have some benefits, but they act just like sugar in the body in that they cause lots of insulin to be released. (they have a high glycemic index)

                I think its impossible to keep sugar out of our kids completely, but in my home I can control it, so I do. I make low sugar cookies (use stevia or agave instead), homemade popsicles, smoothies, etc. I did a search for low-glycemic recipes and there are lots out there!


                • #9
                  By the by - processed wheat flour does the same thing to insulin levels that sugar does. Only faster. I look for "stoneground whole wheat" in any flour-based product that I buy and look at bread as "play food" rather than a staple.

                  The fact that bread is just as bad (worse really) as candy is a tough one to accept. The USDA wants us to think that even uber-refined "enriched" wheat should be the base of our diet (thanks in part to generous funding from large grain companies - Kellogs, General Mills...), but it's whole foods for me, thanks!
                  Last edited by jrflutist; 09-09-2008, 08:54 AM.


                  • #10
                    I use a bit of everything natural. Everything in moderation for sweeteners rule in our house.
                    I use honey, natural sugars, raw agave, which btw is great for diabetics and has no aftertaste... Yummy and Stevia.

                    I am a little miffed about the new hype that HFCS are good for you.



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EcoMaMa View Post
                      I am a little miffed about the new hype that HFCS are good for you.

                      Me too! I was very surprised when I saw that.


                      • #12


                        Two of probably many many articles on HFCS and it's associated health risks.

                        Preachin' to the choir, I know, but maybe we can share this info with those we love who can't give up Coca Cola.


                        • #13
                          if only we could eliminate sugar altogether in our diets!

                          refined sugar isn't good for children or adults, so now is a good time to reduce it from your own diet. good substitutes are stevia (plant-based and completely natural) and xylitol. more complex forms of sweeteners are also preferable to refined sugar. these include maple syrup, brown rice syrup, fruitsource, and honey. but take note that these are simply other forms of sugar. however, they do contain other nutrients in small amounts.

                          refined sugar is laden with calories, has no nutrients, and is linked with diabetes, obesity, etc.


                          • #14
                            We avoided exposing to our daughter to sugar for as long as we could, because I feel it's my responsibility to make healthy choices for her when she can't make them herself. But I also feel it's important to not go crazy about food and have a bunch of arbitrary limitations.

                            She inevitably was exposed to sugar as she got old enough to start to ask to try other things she sees, and as we've been out for holidays, at restaurants, family's house, etc. We don't deny her desire to explore. More often than not, she does not like artifically sweet things like traditional cake.

                            I don't have anything with sugar cane in my house. We also make it a point to avoid processed foods in our home. I do use some honey, maple syrup, and agave, but most of our "sweet foods" are fruit. She's always able to find something to satisfy her sweet desires, but every sweet food in my house is either a whole food or something I prepared myself that I know is nutritious.


                            • #15
                              As bad as sugar is, I also feel there is something to the "forbidden fruit" thing. Every child I have ever known who was "forbidden" to eat anything did so with gusto as soon as mom and dad were out of sight. I don't buy anything I don't approve of so it's not in my house, but I will let it go when we are at my sister's. (She's the Queen of the typical American over processed junk food diet - Diet Cokes, Doritos, Pop Tarts are the bulk of her 9 yo's diet) We just eat before we go, and I (try to) say nothing.