Wednesday, 14 November 2007

On sugar, kids, and diabetes

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I know sugar isn't good for my kids. That's why we don't keep heavy-duty forms of it in our house, why we limit our boys' intake when they're faced with the potential of sugar overload, why we're doling out Halloween candy slowly, bit by bit. At the rate we're going, it'll take all year before they consume it all -- that's if I don't trash it before the year's end. Sugar is always on my mommy mind. And I've always often wondered: Can kids develop diabetes from eating too much sugar?

No, according to an article about children with diabetes published recently in my city's Gainesville Parenting magazine. Apparently, the experts at the American Diabetic Association say no one really knows why some people have diabetes and other don't. Research shows it can be linked to genetics and lifestyle and dietary choices, but there's nothing conclusive about sugar causing the disease.

How about kids who have diabetes -- are they banned from sweets for all of time? If paired with exercise and a healthy diet, diabetic kids can have sweets just like any other kid. There are not any foods off limits for these kiddos, in fact. The key is moderation.

Since fruit is healthy, can diabetic kids eat as much as they like? Even though fruit is healthy, it contains lots of carbohydrates -- which turn into sugar -- so the American Diabetic Association recommends parents talk with their child's dietitian about how much fruit is safe.

What about insulin -- should it be used minimally since it can cause weight gain in diabetic kids? Studies show the benefit of managing glucose levels with insulin injections far outweighs the risk of putting on a few pounds.

For more information on diabetes, click here.

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