Can we eat sugar?
7/10/08

What about sugar?

The Feingold Program does not eliminate sugar or junk food (although we encourage moderation). Sugar is often believed to be the culprit in behavioral problems because sugary foods are generally loaded with synthetic additives. A small number of children don't do well with sugar, but most can enjoy sweets as long as they don't overdo them or eat them on an empty stomach. Cane sugar is the best tolerated. Most also tolerate beet sugar (most plain sugar not labeled "cane sugar" is made from beets), but quite a few don't handle corn syrup very well. Corn syrup also contains high levels of sulfite, used in converting the cornstarch to corn syrup. Sulfite should be avoided by those with asthma or sulfite sensitivity.

School: It's not just the vending machines

It's clear that excessive consumption of sugar leads to obesity, which can lead to diabetes (Type Two*), heart disease and other health problems. One of the shocking discoveries made recently was that even some of the meat-based dishes served in school cafeterias contain enormous amounts of sugar. Look how many of the items listed as ingredients in the barbecued pork rib pattie entree are actually sugar!

School Lunch: BBQ Pork Rib Pattie:
  • Sugar (listed 3 times)
  • Molasses powder
  • Maltodextrin (listed twice)
  • Corn syrup solids (listed twice)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Invert sugar
  • Molasses
  • Corn syrup
* Type One diabetes is not caused or prevented by anything you eat; it is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing cells are destroyed.

What to do?

Luckily, now that your family is on the Feingold Program, nobody in your family has to eat that stuff anymore. Bag lunches can be both easy to fix and nutritious, with simple sandwiches or leftovers from dinner - but that is a different subject. Back to sugar -- in those bag lunches, be sure to include an acceptable dessert, or even an extra snack from the Foodlist candy section that your child can share with friends. Later on, you may want to cut back on sweets, but this is not the time to do it. It is important that your Feingolder - especially if he or she is a child - feel good about the new diet.


Which sweetener to use?

There's so much we don't know about sweeteners, but the Association does have the accumulated experience of many thousands of families. Combining experience with what we do know, here's a suggested guideline for choosing sweeteners: