A $5 Sugar Experiment

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Look what $5 can buy you at the county fair!

I often get comments from non-nutritarian people, warning me of the dangers of NOT giving my kids sugar. That is right: people seem to be very concerned that my kids are not eating enough sugar. People warn me that the moment the kids can eat all the sugar they want, many evil things will happen such as: the kids won’t be able to stop eating the sugar, they will go crazy with excitement, their bodies will go crazy because they haven’t built up a tolerance for it, and they will only want to eat sugar once they taste it. Interesting, it sounds like sugar is a drug or something.

I attended at least one county fair every summer during my childhood. Besides ingesting all the sugar, I remember all the different types of animals and rides (who knew there were that many different breeds of rabbits?). I remember exploring the fair all day, wondering what was going to turn up around the next corner. It was fun and produced some great memories. Of course I was going to take my kids to the local fair! Ours isn’t that huge, but it has all the requisite parts: animals, shows, carnival games, rides, face painting…and of course…sugar in any and all shapes and forms (we also had Chinese Acrobats which were incredible!). So, I devised an experiment: I would buy the kids some form of sugar filled junk food and see what happened. The kids are too young to read so they had no idea what is at all the food stalls. Therefore, I decided that I had to pick the junk food of choice. My only requirements was that it was full of sugar and it was free of the kids’ allergens….after a bit of debate…the final choice was…..a $5 Cherry Flavored Hawaiian Shave Ice!

Before reading the rest of this post, take a bet with yourself..what do you think happened when I gave 2 nutritarian kids more sugar than they have had in a couple years?

We sat down on a patch of grass with the “small” shave ice, which they kindly split into two cups for the kids. The 2 kids (ages 5.5 and 4) had no idea what shave ice was. They had never seen it, so they approached it with great interest. Of course the portion sizes were much bigger than I had ever thought possible…I guess small doesn’t mean small anymore. They tried it slowly at first, but within 2 bites they knew this was good. However, after eating about 1/4 of it, the 5.5 year old proclaimed “this is too sweet”. I encouraged her to eat a few more bites, but then she emphatically decided she just didn’t want to eat any more of it. Then she passed the shave ice to daddy. Daddy has a huge sweet tooth. I thought for sure he would inhale the shave ice, since he hasn’t had anything like this in a long time. Oddly enough, after eating about 1/4 of it, he too proclaimed that he couldn’t eat any more – too sweet! He mentioned the sweetness was overwhelming. Then, we reminisced about Slurpees and snow cones from our youthful days. Specifically we thought “whoa, we used to eat a slurpee a day, and now can’t even finish half of this shave ice”. I too tried the shave ice and actually liked the taste, but after eating a bit of it I just couldn’t eat any more either. I probably enjoyed it the most, as it reminded me of the cherry Slurpees which were my favorite when I was young. The 4 year old was the one who liked it the best. She didn’t go crazy with excitement, but she definitely liked it and probably would have finished it if I let her. But I didn’t. After eating about half of it, I asked her if I could have the rest. She gave it up quickly and easily, then asked if she could eat the fruit salad and dried fruit that we brought with us. Both kids went to sleep easily that night…no sugar highs or lows occurred.

It has been about 3 weeks since we went to the fair. I ask the kids what they remember about that day, and neither of them brings up the shave ice.  They talk about the Chinese Acrobat show, how they got to pet all sorts of animals, and how they got their faces painted like a kitty-cat. Contrary to other people’s beliefs, the kids didn’t ask for more sugar after the fair. They didn’t become addicted to it. They didn’t obsess about it. It really was no big deal to them. We have kept on eating nutritarian like we always do.

So, now I have my answer the next time someone questions my choice to remove sugar from my kids diets. I know exactly what happens when they are exposed to a huge dose of sugar: nothing exciting.

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer season, Kim

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2 Responses to A $5 Sugar Experiment

  1. What a great experiment with sugar! I have found that after just 4 months of eating a whole foods plant based diet that many things no longer taste good that I used to think were really good. Instead fruit and vegetables now have incredible flavor that I couldn’t taste as well prior to changing my diet.

    I also find it funny that all of a sudden my friends are concerned about my not eating animal products and they almost feel bad for me that I eat only a plant based diet. It seems that they don’t believe I actually prefer the plant based diet foods!

    • The Mama says:

      Thanks for the comment Tammy. I have noticed that too, I call it “Taste bud rehabilitation”. Its like the taste buds start working again.

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