Sugar vs no sugar
Posted by: Brigitte Rozario, 31-Dec-2009
Should we allow our children to have sweets, candy and chocolate from young? Is there a risk of them becoming more hyperactive and not as alert because of all that sugar? Or is it okay as long as it's in moderate doses?
Two mothers share their opinions on sugar:
Zuhairah Ali, mother of four boys aged 12 to 22:
I discourage my children from taking white sugar, candies and chocolates that contain white sugar, glucose and those containing artificial preservatives and additives. I've done this since they were newborns. Instead, I replace these with sweeteners, honey, molasses and gula melaka.
I believe that sugar is bad for the brain and bad for health. It is just a preventive measure I have taken with them since they were born. Also, white sugar is said to feed cancer cells.
I myself try not to take any sugar, chocolates or candy. I feel that one of the most important ways to achieve success with the kids is to set a good example.
Sugar causes detrimental behavioural changes in children - they are unable to concentrate. Avoiding sugar has a calming effect on my kids.
S.C. Chen, mother of two, aged two years and 3 1/2 years:
I myself take chocolates in small and moderate amounts, sugar - only when required, and occasionally I have mints.
So far, I have not given my children candies. They take sugar very rarely and not even in their Milo. As for chocolate, yes, but in small portions because when they take too much they get constipation and sore throat easily.
My daughter only started asking for chocolate and candies after turning two. Prior to that I had never given her any.
My son has learnt that chocolate is yummy. If he sees it, he will want to have some. But it's a case of out of sight, out of mind for him.
I try not to give them much chocolate because of fear of tooth decay and getting sick. I also want them to get used to a no or less sugar diet from young.
At home, we practise less sugar and salt anyway. So, it is actually part of our family habit.
I don't want my children to have a sweet tooth or be picky with their food when they grow up. Also, we have a family history of diabetes, so we need to be careful.
I have friends who will only take sweet drinks and not plain water. They also don't like plain food. I don't want my children to grow up with those eating habits.
My daughter does ask for chocolates and yes I do let her have them but only in small portions occasionally and only after she's completed a task I've asked her to do. Sometimes, I use it as a bribe to get her to complete a task.
I think it is okay to have some chocolates as long as it's in moderation and not excessive. After all, our body needs sugar to boost our blood sugar level and small amounts are okay.
My girls are now 24, 20 and 18 years old. When they were in their primary school, I allowed all the chocolates and ice cream they could take. After less than six months of complete indulgence, they surrendered. After that period, all my three girls have an indifferent attitude towards anything sweet, creamy or chocolatey,yes, until now.
I monitored all their eating habits at home, taught them to eat anything and everything in moderation as they were growing up. Since they rarely eat out, I allowed them to indulge whenever they do. By the time they all reached 15 years old, and after all the literature on health food that I made available to them, my girls are now more health conscious than I am. I'm happy to say that all my girls have normal sugar and cholesterol levels, and yes we make a habit to go for blood tests every year or two.
I think that sugars, sweets and chocolates are bad for health. My children themselves dislike chocolates and prefer vegetables. it is a must for them to have vegetables for every meal.
I drew my 4-year-old daughter's teeth with black spots on them. I told her that the black spots are little 'ulat' that will destroy her teeth. This will only happen if she eats chocolate and sweets and did not brush her teeth. Ever since then, she has been diligently brushing her teeth after every meal and after every intake of chocolates and sweets. Even then, she avoids sweets like a plague. Now at five, she loves to visit her dentist for her checkup and making sure that her teeth are good. At the same time, she will drink a lot of plain water to so-called dilute any sweets or chocolates if she took them.