Day 18 of Sugar-Free January. Many anti-sugar people will tell you, with zeal in their eyes, how glorious they feel off sugar. How energetic, how this, how that. I am not one of them. I feel EXACTLY THE SAME. I also weigh EXACTLY THE SAME. And my jeans fit EXACTLY THE SAME. Plus today someone gave me the monthly delivery of home-baked cookies that I won at last fall's Eastside Academy auction, which is aggravating. And then there's my book store event on Saturday, January 29, where I'll be serving up homemade Valentine sugar cookies without eating any myself. Grrr... Maybe next year I'll do Sugar-Free February, because that's only 28 days.
The only comfort, for the next two weeks, is that I'm not having any chocolate milk. Harvard Nutrition reports that “people are getting 50 percent of their calories from carbs, and 80 percent of those calories are from refined starch and sugar." With our children eating school lunches (and probably reaching for the chocolate milk), they are "getting the full brunt of that diet." As a result, children and teenagers are at higher risk for developing heart disease and diabetes. In our house, I didn't force the kids to participate in Sugar-Free January, but I did reduce them to one sugary sweet per day, and that includes non-sweets which are primarily refined flour. What can I say? We're all waiting for February 1.
If it isn't the sugar making your kids hyper, you may want to check out other food additives. Health.com lists several food dyes and one food preservative as possible exacerbators of ADHD:
- Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue). Found in many "kids'" cereals, Yoplait yogurts, and some Frito-Lay chip products!
- Blue #2 (Indigotine). More "kids'" cereals, cake mixes, candies.
- Red #40 (Allura Red). According to the article, this is the most widely used food dye in the U.S. Found in everything from Jell-O to Lunchables, sodas to M&Ms.
- Yellow #5 (Tartrazine). The second most common food dye, and one that HAS been linked to hyperactivity by studies. (See Robyn O'Brian's THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH). Think of all that yellow food. Kraft Mac & Cheese, I'm looking at you.
- Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow). You mean Cheetos and Fanta Orange Soda don't occur that color in nature???
And then there's Sodium Benzoate. Just try to get away from this preservative, especially in acidic foods. Interesting to note that the EU has warning labels on items containing many of these additives, to the effect of, "Don't blame us if your kid eats this and turns into a fit-throwing, bedtime-avoiding, off-the-wall little monster." Yeesh. Makes plain, old-fashioned, straight sugar look rather harmless!