Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sugar vs. sugar-free

I grew up in a house where pretty much every meal was made from scratch. My Mom was not a big fan of sugary cereals, and I honestly cannot remember ever seeing pop in our fridge. There were always a lot of fresh fruits and veggies available. I was taught at a very early age what healthy eating looked like.

And it is something that has followed me into adulthood. Don't get me wrong, I have my junk food moments, but I tend to shop in mostly the outer perimeter of the grocery store, and try to stay away from the processed foods you find in the inner aisles.

And I have a list of no-no foods that I try to keep out of my house at all costs; high fructose corn syrup, all those crazy dyes you find in foods these days, enriched bleached flour, and every and all sugar substitutes.

By the way, this is just my own opinion for me and my family. If you use products with sugar substitutes and it works for you, then I'm glad it works for you. This post is not meant as a judgement, just merely my own little opinion that doesn't really count for much in the grand scheme of things.

I made the decision very early on in Elise's diagnosis that I would not use sugar-free products. I would never eat them myself, so why would I feed them to my child? Perhaps I'm lucky that Elise was diagnosed so young that she never developed a taste for pop, juice, jello or other sweet treats (because she had never had them!). In fact, I tried to give her a chocolate chip cookie the other day and she took one bite and said, "don't like it!"

This is how I look at foods that fall in to the sugar-free category; jello for example. There really isn't anything redeeming in jello. Even the full-sugar versions are not really good for you. Take out the sugar and replace it with aspartame, now it's doubly not good for you (just my opinion). I would rather Elise eat a small amount of the full-sugar version, then a lot of the sugar-free. Does that make sense?

I actually brought up the sugar/sugar-free issue with the NP at our endo's office (he happens to be a T1). All I asked him was for his opinion on sugar-free products. I didn't mention mine, as I didn't want to sway him. To my surprise, he pretty much said exactly what I wrote above. The funny thing is, he said it in a way like he was saying something that he wasn't supposed to.

I am not saying that I will never change my mind. I don't want Elise to grow up feeling different. So if at some point she decides she wants to try diet pop (at a reasonable age), I will let her. I also hope to properly equip her to be able to make "good" food choices.

I have a very sweet tooth, and happen to looooooove Pepsi. It's been even worse since I've been pregnant (I've been craving Pepsi Icees). But I gave up pop when I had Elise 2 1/2 years ago. I didn't want the caffeine to go through my breast milk, but I also realized something; there was nothing redeeming about drinking it. It added nothing good to my body. I try to make a good choice by drinking water instead.

I hope this post doesn't offend anybody. Again, this is just what works for my family. It's just something that's been tumbling around in my head for awhile, and I felt the need to write it down.


  1. We don't do a lot of processed foods....I try to make most everything from scratch. I like to use King Arthur brand white whole wheat flour in my cooking and baking....whole wheat crackers, whole wheat pasta if I can buy it at a reasonable price. I go as healthy as possible as long as the price allows! :) As far as sugar free, Jada occasionally will have a Sprite Zero...she recently discovered diet Dr.Pepper! She's mostly a water girl anyhow...makes things much easier! I don't use splenda or nutrasweet in my cooking, but when we have pancakes, we sprinkle a little splenda on top. But really...with the amount of splenda I put on there, I might as well just use real sugar! A bag of Splenda lasts a loooong time in our house! As for's a sometimes thing and it's usually sugar free.

    I like your's a good one!

  2. We don't do sugar free stuff either. I know there is more that we can do to eat healthier, but we're learning. At least my kids generally love their fruits and veggies!

  3. I dont do sugar free and only use sweet n lo in my coffee and tea , only because my son would not eat anything that had any kind of sweetness to it , good post .

  4. I like knowing I am not alone!! We choose to use regular sugar or maple or agave syrup in small amounts instead of sugar substitutes. It just feels right for me and my family...

  5. Great post!! I think your philosophy is great! We aren't super strict w/ that stuff but I always think I should be better! Thanks for encouraging me!

  6. You're a great mom and do a great job with Elise!

    I grew up much as you describe and my girls eat great as well. I also stick to the 4 walls and make pretty much everything gluten free from scratch...that being said, however, we love our Jello, Snow Cones, and Crystal Light :)

    Live and let live!


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