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My child attends a school with a sugar free policy and I think the children are so much healthier and more balanced energetically than when she went to a school that allowed sugar-y foods.
So well said Sarah -I agree with you 100%.I have recently joined a health committee at an elementary school.I am shocked that a doctor would ever make those statements.You refer to kids when you say "They need to make healthy choices"...how in the world can kids make healthy choices when teachers and other parents are bringing in cupcakes to school.
I agree to practice sweets in moderation. What is the harm of a cupcake every now and then? Well, I'll tell you. It is that when everyone is practicing "moderation" my child is bombarded with sweets at school (weekly cupcakes, plus classroom parties, plus in school enrichment). That's just school! Then more "moderation" sweets at Cub Scouts, lollipops at speech therapy, church choir candy, church donuts, after soccer game treats. People it adds up! You argue you don't want the school to tell you what to do! I argue I have no freedom of choice about what my child is offered! Fortunately, my child understands we say no to everything except to our family dessert on Sunday. So yes, to live with moderation requires a multitude of nos. Do you as a doctor even have a child? Or are you oblivious of all the junk they are eating? I'm tired of the "cost" excuse. It costs us plenty to have unhealthy children. We need better economic indicators.
I agree with the sugar free schools. If parents want their children to have a sweet, save it for dessert after dinner. In my son's school, they have sweets for every occasion. It gets ridiculous. Why must there be sugar to celebrate every event? I think it reinforces bad habits. My child would not care at all if his school was sugar free. He gets a sweet after dinner and that's okay with him.
You don't see the harm in allowing 20-30 cupcakes (or other birthday treats) in one classroom in a school year?? Do the math! Add the additional out-of-school birthday parties to that, all the school celebrations for holidays and other stuff (any excuse will do!!), and you've got your kid stuffing his/her mouth with sugar and fat almost every single day! It is APPALLING and for an MD to say you "don't see the harm" - I think that is completely negligent and ignorant on your part! Shame on you. I came here looking for some support. Amazing.
The problem with cupcakes on birthdays is that with 25 kids in the class, that's a lot of cupcakes. Add that to special events, ie. Halloween, and teachers that give out candies, and you have a whole new diet. When my 6 year old finished grade one and I happened to take him to the dentist, the dentist asked - in horror- if I had changed his diet and added more sugars. I hadn't. School had. I wish I had a sugar-free school around here!
Bacteria LOVE sugar. That should say enough.
But schools don't know thing one about nutrition. The best, most absorbable (by the human physiology) nutrition comes from plant sources, eaten raw.
We have a culture of food junkies, which, in turn, creates oodles of other problems, including mental/emotional issues and disease (think : diabetes, heart disease, obesity . . . in children . . . at epidemic levels!)
But keep on "treating" the children. Excellent.
Our school offers 2 to thee times a week fruits and vegetables delivered to our classroom door to promote healthy choices and our lunch program offers healthy lunches as well!!!
This whole mess is not logical! A child's nutritional needs should come first. Are sugary sodas nutritional? No! So they should go. Is there any nutritional value in beef? Yes. So it should stay. Is there any nutritional value in leaf lettuce? Not so much, so don't make it a staple of the school lunch program!.
Many, many years ago, you started Nutrition 101 with a Chart of Nutritional Values of Foods. This is how you learned to figure out menus for the day. While I can't remember them all ( it's been 64 years ) I do know eggs were first at 98%, then milk at 97%, them beef at 95% followed by the other red meats - beans and peanut butter were around 54% - all other vegetables and fruits, under 50%. A school lunch program, as has been noted here, does not stand alone for just one child - it should contain the accepted amount of proteins, carbs and fats that should be in a meal.
Everything went 'off the tracks' when the experts forgot that milk is a food that contains everything the kids need to grow - the 'horrible milk fat( as all dietitians know) is a natural fat, meaning it is a blend of 66% saturated, 30% monosaturated, and 4% polyunsaturated and only amounts to 3.15%, legal standard. This milkfat is a carrier of Vitamins A,D,E, and D(fat soluble) they help utilize other nutrients.
Can't serve that in schools today! Take out that 3.15% natural fat and replace it with pills and processed fat! We get too soon old, too late smart!
I think its important to bring attention to the childhood obesity epidemic, but I am not sure if it is the school's responsibility to control what is in our kids' lunch boxes.
I would love to see educational programs being implemented (teaching parents and children about quick and simple ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise).
The biggest problem I have with actions like these is the fact that not every child in that school has a weight issue or behavioral/learning problem. Even if that was so, then when did a school system earn the right to control what parents may or may not send in their child's lunch boxes. Just because their is an obesity problem growing does not mean every single child should have to live like they have a weight problem or on the verge of one. Now I'm all for healthy school provided lunches and if a schools want to limit the amount of sugar that is provided by them to students then that's fine. I'm even for not having all those birthday cake parties. However, I think a line is crossed when the school controls what food is packed into a child's lunch. If teachers, parents, or their children have weight problems or even behavioral/learning problems that they want to fix with dietary changes than that is something they need to do in their own personal lives for their own sake. Not force everyone else to go along with it. My child not eating a cupcake at lunch won't prevent their child from going and eating double the amount of sugar/calories in a cupcake when they go home.
The biggest question in my mind is whether these "sugar-free" schools allow artificial sweeteners, and whether this policy makes parents more likely to send artificially sweetened foods and beverages for their children. It seems to me that it would be far healthier to encourage moderation in sugar consumption than to simply replace all sugar with synthetic chemical sweeteners.
I'm not sure about "sugar-free" schools, but am all for the schools teaching healthy eating by example of what is served. The birthday type treats come under the "sometimes" foods - a HeadStart term (or at least where I learned it) Not only is childhood obesity a problem, but tooth decay is too. Let's get rid of soda - maybe "soda-free" schools, (including staff...) Fruit juices are not as healthy as the fruit - "eat your juice" and water need not be flavored with acidic juice (lemon, lime...) or sugars by any name - acids and sugars are hard on the teeth. Maybe schools could make it a "challenge" rather then a "rule". It could be a challenge month to be soda-free or try the sugar-free and see how the creativity flows rather then the defensiveness of being told what to do.
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