Coming to Terms with Sugar

Written by Emily Bartnikowski on June 29th, 2015

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Healthy Eating, Healthy Living
Ingredients for at-home popsicles: yogurt, almond milk, thawed-from-frozen berries.

Ingredients for at-home popsicles: yogurt, almond milk, thawed-from-frozen berries.

Sugar is getting a bad rap lately.

My only problem with sugar is that everything I’m seeing and reading and hearing is so full of fear and loathing that I just want to turn it all off. Especially since my next move is to make a snack for my boys and myself – crackers (for them, baguette for me), cream cheese, pomegranate seeds, honey.

The crackers, your basic water-cracker variety – have zero grams of sugar . . . but they also have very little flavor. The baguette came from the bakery at our grocery store, and as it was sliced by me and frozen the day I bought it, I couldn’t check for sugar content. The cream cheese (organic) has two grams of sugar per two tablespoons, and the honey has a whopping seventeen grams of sugar per tablespoon. I’m counting the pomegranates as a freebie because the only thing anyone has ever said regarding naturally occurring sugars is to eat them in their natural state.

Regardless, I just gave my kids roughly twenty grams of sugar.

At snack time. recommends keeping children to just 12-25 grams of added sugar a day. A day. I gave them nearly all of that at snacktime.

Walter does some dumping.

Walter does some dumping.

The folks at Sugar Science line up with those at the World Health Organization, and lest you be tempted to give me the sugar in the honey for free (it is, after all, natural, organic, and very near it’s natural state), both organizations consider it to be a sugar that needs restricting.

On the other side is this little gem: my husband, an avid cyclist, has a resting heart rate so low that his cardiologist (after a few “sinking episodes”) advised him to drink electrolytes throughout the day instead of straight water. Most medical professionals recommend cutting those (they are sports drinks, after all) when trying to cut back your sugar intake. So we did some research and found a daily electrolyte mix that flavor with dried fruit rather than chemicals, and keep a steady supply of those on hand.

Baz does some dumping...

Baz does some dumping…

And then we watched Fed Up (and read this little fact-check of  Fed Up), and I threw my hands in the air and channeled Michael Pollan: Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not Too Much. It’s really that simple.

So we made a decision: we’re sticking with our proven diet of Anytime Foods (fruits, vegetables, etc), and Sometimes Foods (ice cream sandwiches, gummy bunnies, etc). And life will go on nicely.


…and all the did was lick these a bit and then dump them in the sink to melt…



Further Reading:

On being an athlete with Diabetes, from Team Novo-Nordisk

Did you watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? A food writer and her journalist husband followed up. They wrote a book…and were interviewed on Splendid Table. Read the transcript (or listen to the story) here. Jamie Oliver also talks about sugar (and eating in general) in a TED talk here.

John Oliver addressed it on his HBO show before Halloween. (This is HBO, so it’s PG-13…at least.)

Why “sugar” is the first ingredient in the electrolyte mix we drink.

The NYTimes in 2010 talking about sugar and the body in motion.

Bicycling Magazine: When to say No and when to Go with Sugar.

Livestrong: Why we need sugar.


Photo Credits


About The Author: Emily Bartnikowski

Emily B emmieb My NPN Posts

Emily is a wife, mother, photographer, and aspiring novelist. She blogs about parenting and life at Embrita Blogging.

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