Sugar Monsters

Hello. My name is Genevieve and I’m the mother of a sugar addict.

My 11 year old daughter has always been completely infatuated with sweets even though I didn’t keep them in my home. Somehow, even though I kept sweets out of our normal routine, just the treats that she came across at school during breakfast (yes.. kids had a choice of cocoa puffs or frosted flakes at public school breakfast – that’s another topic that I will write on later) and during parties and at her friends homes, she became addicted.

I recently found this hilarious journal entry that she wrote unbeknownst to me, several years back. I was cleaning out my office and found an old notebook and thumbed through it before tossing it. This had me in stiches, but it was also a stark reminder of how serious the addiction can be!

I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom that was a former hippie and although I hated never having cereal sweeter than plain shredded wheat biscuits, the lack of sugar in my diet allowed my taste buds to develop in a much healthier way, without the desire for a lot of sweets. I had (and still have) a genuine love the unaltered taste of all kinds of foods in their natural state. There’s something incredibly beautiful about the array of flavors, colors and textures that nature gives us. To instill a true love of healthy food is one of the best gifts we can give our children, one that will bring positive benefits to them throughout their lives.

What many people don’t realize is that many foods we don’t associate with as being sweet will react in the body the same way that plain table sugar will. Simple carbohydrates like white bread, many cereals, donuts, basically anything made with plain flour, will turn to sugar in the blood and cause severe glucose spikes. Glucose levels in the blood spike then drop suddenly, resulting in low blood sugar. This is what causes a sense of fatigue, tiredness, lethargy or irritation after consuming a large quantity of carbohydrates. It is variously described as a sense of tiredness, lethargy, irritation, or hangover.

What is happening is that the rapid rise in blood glucose leads to a quick insulin secretion, which in turns leads to rapid glucose uptake by tissues. The consequent fall in blood glucose is what causes the negative symptoms.

Here are some symptoms of low blood sugar in children:

• has trouble concentrating
• is easily frustrated
• is more irritable than usual
• gets angry unexpectedly
• is restless and can’t keep still
• becomes almost irrational and cannot be talked out of it

It all starts with breakfast

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