Sugar has been on my mind a lot lately. I always cringe around Halloween thinking about all of the sugar (and HFCS, food dyes, and chemicals) that are loaded in typical candy. Also, about 8 weeks ago, I started my candida cleanse which made me rethink everything that I was eating. I quickly realized how much sugar was in my diet. It was very normal for me to eat something sweet after each meal. This coupled with my morning, fruit filled, smoothie, was quickly adding up to yeast overgrowth. I went cold turkey. For about 6 weeks, I had no almost no sugar in my diet. The only fruit that I had was lemon in my water. I didn’t eat anything processed that had sugar in it. Quickly my cravings subsided. It’s been about 10 weeks now and I can honestly say that I don’t crave sugar anymore. I have added some natural sugars back into my diet though, mostly in the form of fruits and starchy vegetables. But how much sugar is okay? Should natural sugar from fruit (veggies do have some sugar but other than limiting beets & potatoes, I didn’t worry about this) be treated the same as added sugar? And what about my kiddos? How much is too much?
In order to evaluate the sugar intake in my diet as well as in Brooks’ diet (my 3-year-old), I wrote down everything that we ate one day.
Breakfast: smoothie with blueberries (7 g), blackberries (4 g) , raspberries (8 g), 2 pears (18 g), spinach, carrots (5 g), coconut water (16 g), greens, Vega One protein powder (2 g), Body Vitality Super Greens(1 g): Estimated total for my portion: 20 g
(Sugar content taken from Pop Sugar blog)
Snack: 2 Bulletproof coffees with total of 4 Tbsp grass-fed butter, & 2 Tbsp Brain Octane
Lunch: left over beef soup (broth, beef, onion, rosemary, carrot, celery, garlic, bone marrow) with avocado, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar Concord Grape Drink (5 g)
Snack: salt & vinegar chips (1 g) , Kevita Probiotic Drink, blueberry & cherry (6 g)
Dinner: Homemade meatballs (no added sugar), bok choy with garlic, ginger, olive oil, 1/2 sweet potato with butter (3 g), zucchini sticks with sauce (3 g) , homemade chicken broth
Snack: Nu-Medica Chocolate Greens (2 g); Ginger-chammomile tea with stevia
Estimated total sugar intake: 40 grams
Breakfast: Smoothie (Estimated 10 g for his portion); gluten free blueberry waffle (3 g) with maple syrup 1/8 cup (24 g), yogurt (11 g for whole container, he had about 1/2)
Snack: apple (19 g)
Lunch: 1/2 Sunbutter (3 g) & jelly (10g/Tbsp) sandwich on gluten free bread (1.5 g for 1 slice), Gluten free sesame seed crackers, cutie (13 g), apple (19 g), 1/2 avocado toast on gluten free bread (1.5 g), Good pop popsicle (14 g)
S: salt & vinegar chips (1 g) , 1/2 banana (7 g) , 1 Plum Organics pumpkin & banana pouch (9 g)
D: meatballs, 1/4 sweet potato (1.5 g)
S: 1/3 cup cranberries (26 g), chips (1 g), 1/2 banana (7 g)
Brooks’ estimated total sugar intake 180 grams
Total added sugar (not from fruits & veggies): approximately 62 grams
These numbers, especially Brooks’, are a bit alarming to me especially since I consider this to be a pretty clean diet for a toddler. This was also not a day that he had juice. According to recommendations by the World Health Organization, adults and children should keep their daily intake of sugar at or below 25 grams. (Link here) It is important to note, “The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars.”
“According to Dr. Mercola, “They (Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets) named several ways in which dietary fructose can promote cancer growth, including:
Altered cellular metabolism
Increased reactive oxygen species (free radicals)
Inflammation” (click here for whole article)
While this information is not meant to scare anyone, it is meant to be eye opening. Clearly, Brooks is getting too much sugar in his diet. I recognize that the majority of this is coming from fruits and vegetables which have important nutrients. Regardless, there was too much added sugar and this wasn’t the worst of days. I’m not suggesting that his diet is poor. I believe that he’s eating better than most toddlers. If this is true, then the average American toddler/child is getting way too much sugar in his/her diet.
The point is of this is only to be aware of what we eat and what we feed our children. Every decision that we make has either positive or negative health consequences. I believe in balance and in enjoying our food but I also believe that we can do better.
As always, if you like what you read, please share. Thanks for your time and for sharing in my passion.