I am often accused of being a hysterical sugar fanatic and that’s okay because I am – at least to a certain extent. I truly am scared of how our (and our children’s) enormous sugar intake goes completely under the radar. And I’m frightened at how eating lots of sugar is the new normal. We don’t even question it anymore. It’s like it has become more controversial to say I don’t feed my kids sugar than to say I feed them a bowl of candy for breakfast!
The other day I went for a walk in the afternoon in my quiet Copenhagen suburb. On my walk I met a group of kids on their way home. My twins are 10 so I guess these children were maybe 11-12 years old. One was eating a large bag of candy, another one was drinking a big bottle of soda, one was carrying a large bag of crisps and one was eating a lollipop. On their way home from school on a regular Tuesday afternoon.
VISIT THE PLANETARIUM – DON’T FORGET POPCORN AND SODAS
Last weekend, my family and I went to the Planetarium to see a film about National Parks in the US. I like going to the Planetarium. I find it to be entertaining and educational for both adults and children and I enjoy seeing their exhibition as well as their beautiful films. When entering, we were met by the smell of popcorn as if we had entered a traditional cinema. And there were popcorn, candy and sodas all over the place. And people bought completely into it because it’s almost like going to the movies, right?
I don’t agree! I think going to the Planetarium is an experience in itself – even without having my emotions enhanced by sugar!
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM – CANDY AND SODAS
In my country, it’s common that kids attend an after school program when they finish school. Up until 10 years, it’s a very controlled environment and from 10 years they are moved to a place with fewer rules and regulations and expected to look after themselves more. From what I hear, the place is floating with candy and sodas. The kids are allowed to leave the premises and go buy stuff in the near by grocery store and they’re not buying carrots and bottled water, that’s for sure! And who would expect them to, really?
My twins are making that move later this spring and it’s my time to let them go and hope I’ve done my job good enough. I have no expectations of them being perfect because… well, they are children.
So yes, I am terrified of where this society is headed. Not only for my kids but for kids – and people – in general.
Imagine if you kid had started to put on weight and you knew that he/she would be better off not eating too much sweet stuff. That kid doesn’t stand a chance.
And please note, that this is not about how we chose to bring up our children or about strict control. It’s about the constant availability of sugary foods. Show me one child who will go with his or her friends to the grocery store and buy a bottle of water while the others load up on sweets and sodas. Show me the adult who can turn down the office cake 5 days a week. There’s the addictive nature of sugar paired with the peer pressure. We make ourselves vulnerable when we chose to go against the group.
YES, BUT WE DESERVE A LITTLE SOMETHING TODAY…
I think this society is headed in the complete wrong direction and we justify the course by saying that it’s just a little something and only today. Nobody ever got hurt from eating one piece of cake! Maybe true. But since we’re constantly met with an abundance of sweets everywhere we go (and we don’t even need to eat candy or drink sodas, it’s in everything we buy. Even in so called “healthy foods” like breakfast cereals and other processed foods) it gets too much before we know it.
HOW MUCH SUGAR DO YOU (OR YOUR KIDS) REALLY EAT?
Do you even know? Have you tried adding it all up? WHO recommends that no more than 10% of your daily calories comes from added sugar (and they suggest that 5% is probably better but it’s not completely documented yet). You reach that limit in no time! Often even without eating sugar and sweets.
So yes, I may be a sugar frightened w(b)itch. Fine by me! But you try and do the math and see if I’m really that far off!