Replacing sugar with less processed carbohydrates improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, insulin, and weight.
We eat way too much sugar. And it's making us and our children sick.
Sugar has been linked to hyperinsulinemia and chronic disease. And science is showing that cultures who eat too much sugar struggle with obesity as well as metabolic syndrome (a condition in which a number of health markers are out of whack) such as blood pressure, blood sugars, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol. In Canada specifically, we are seeing 30% of our children struggle with obesity, and more recently, an increase in children with type 2 diabetes (while numbers are not yet published, Dr. Shazhan Amed in British Columbia has completed a surveillance study on this). So a practical solution is to remove the added sugar from our children’s diets.
A research study by Dr Robert Lustig, a professor at UCSF and leader in paediatric obesity, found that the medical markers (blood pressure, cholesterol levles, blood sugars) in obese children improved IN JUST 9 DAYS of replacing sugar with starch in their diet. The starch was in the form of fruit, bread, bagels, cereal and pasta.
Sugar (specifically the fructose molecule) is associated with increase blood pressure, heart attaches, strokes, increase blood sugars, inflammation, and weight gain. Sweetened drinks, juices, pop/soda, hot chocolate, ice tea, sports drinks, etc are the worst here because there is no fiber so we do not feel full after drinking all the sugar. Sugar may also interfere with our ability to know when we are full, leading to overeating.
So what is the take away from this article?
Kids do not need sugar.
Plain and simple.
Sugar should not be the way to show kids you love them. Sugar is not an essential nutrient. Sugar makes the body sicker, yes even in children. Sugar needs to be limited in children’s diets.
Practical tips to replace sugar in the diet with vegetables and fruit
So how do we take the sugar out of the diet? An easy way is to switch the sugar/snacks with real food like fruits and vegetables!
- Instead of cookies or crackers, offer apples and nut/seed butter; or vegetables (cucumber, carrots, peppers, celery sticks) and a healthy fat dip (hummus, babaghanoush, tzatziki, caesar dressing, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, pesto, etc!).
- Instead of deep fried French fries, bake potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, etc
- Instead of sweetened yogurt cups/tubes (which easily have 3-4 tsp Sugar per small cup), add puréed fruit and add flavour to plain high fat yogurt.
- Avocado is a great way to add healthy fats to almost any meal! Eat it on the side, as a dip (who doesn't love guacamole?!) or a smoothie!
- Looking for a cool drink? Consider icy water flavoured with cucumber or mint or lemon/orange/grapefruit slices or frozen berries!
- Consider a smoothie with greens of your choice, coconut milk/almond milk/heavy cream, avocado, and frozen berries!
- Need a pancake recipe? Use bananas with tahini and eggs! (Recipe here!) add puréed berries and yogurt or plain whipped cream to top it off!
- Instead of granulated sugar in recipes, reduce the amount to 1/3 and add honey or maple syrup (yes, these are still sugars, but it is a way to add less sugar to the recipe). Or you could change the sugar to applesauce or mashed banana (you might need to play with the recipe a few times to get the right consistency and flavour when you do this).
I hope you enjoy some of these ideas!
If you have any questions or comments or have other great ways to replace the sugar in your diet, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you the best of health,