Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Nutritional Value of a Honey Sandwich

I recently posted a question on my facebook page: Would you choose honey sandwiches and a suitable afternoon snack for your child? I got some great and varied feedback so I thought I would delve a little deeper.

The basic nutritional content of honey per tablespoon (25g) is 20.6g of sugar, 20.8g carbohydrates in total. 

One average slice of whole meal bread (40g) contains 16g carbohydrates
One average slice of white bread (40g) contains 18g carbohydrates

If you think about something high in sugar being around 2g per 100g and something high in sugar being 30g per 100g then I am sure you can see that if there is 20.6g of sugar in 25g of honey and we multiply this by four to make the per 100g version we have 82.4g per 100g! Wow!

Now lets add some bread and maybe even some banana whereby a medium banana has around 21.8g of carbs and of that 18.6g comes from sugar and I am sure you agree that is a HUGE amount of sugar - especially for a child.

Take into account also that non of these items are high in fats or proteins in order to help to even out the sugar hit and insulin spike you will get after consumption not to mention the crash that will come later. In my opinion any nutritional value you may gain from the honey cannot out weight the huge amount of sugar.  Give this to a child and the body treats it just the same way as it does chocolate and lollies.

I can think of SO many more preferable snacks to give my children that are highly nutritious, contain good fats and protein and are low in sugar.

I had a quick chat to mum of one, Naturopath and Nutritionist, Emma Sutherland, about her views on this topic:

“Just one tablespoon of honey contains approximately FIVE teaspoons of sugar and I am sure if you put that on a table with a slice of bread, every single parent would say no way, that¹s not a healthy afterschool snack! You make a great point Jen, this snack does not contain protein or fat to slow down the sugar spike. When we think of childhood obesity we often think of sugar laden soft drinks and processed foods but sometimes we need to be more careful and honey is the perfect example.

Recent research released in America has clearly stated that children are consuming the majority of their energy intake via energy dense and nutrient poor foods (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23340318).  Considering our soaring childhood obesity epidemic this points the way for more parent education and healthier school canteens.”

So for those of you that said that the honey sandwich was a treat or 'sometimes' food, you are spot on,  and for those of you that thought it was a good afternoon snack, I hope that this information might make you think twice and help you to choose other, more nutritionally sound and lower in sugar, foods for your child's regular snacks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is Sugar Free that hard to grasp?

If you can grasp nut-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free why not sugar-free.
Why is sugar free so hard to respect?

We all know we can’t take nuts into schools, kindys or daycare these days. There are children at risk of anaphylactic shock and so we obey these rules. For the good of these children we know, with a few small changes, we can look after them to the best of our ability.  Birthday cakes that are taken into school or kindy should be nut-free – no big deal, we can make that small change to our usual recipe and we do so willingly.  For a parent of a child eating wheat- or gluten-free almond flour is potentially a go-to substitute for regular flour so it may take a little thought but throw in some coconut flour and you’re away. A little thought needed, yes, a little inconvenient for some, yes – but necessary and accepted all the same.

Many children and adults are removing wheat from their diet also. If your child is suffering from eczema or other inflammatory conditions and you are told they may be affected by wheat you remove it from their diet and you expect other people to follow these dietary guidelines for the good of your child. Again, no questions asked. Same with dairy – no one argues when you declare your child is on goats milk or another milk substitute (hopefully not soy, but more on that another time).

Eggs are another one, shell fish and gluten. All seemingly acceptable exemptions from our modern day diet due to modern day issues and conditions.

So why is sugar free so hard to grasp? No-one questions the removal of nuts, wheat, eggs or dairy because it is for the good of the child yet sugar-free is questioned. No one would sneak ‘just a tiny bit’ of nuts to the child who could go into shock or dairy to the child riddled with eczema yet, ‘just a little bit’ of sugar is okay. No-one gives the child allergic to eggs some anyway because everyone else is eating eggs and the child ‘must be missing out’. Yet being made to feel you are depriving your child or causing them to miss out on sugary junk is not uncommon.

Maybe its because most of the other symptoms are visible ones – you can see a child’s eczema and relate to how awful it must be for that child. You see a child taken to hospital after an allergic reaction to nuts, shellfish or eggs. But what about those reactions that we can’t see – what is going on in the brain of a young child that has child who has consumed a piece of cake, a coke or a glazed donut? What about the irrational and uncontrollable behavior the huge sugar hit can cause on a tiny body? And the crash? Experiencing emotions and learning to deal with feelings can be overwhelming at a young age anyway – do these children need even more to battle with?

I got in touch with fellow health and fitness expert, Rhiannon Lovell, who specializes and has lots of experience in working with both children and adults with both physical and behavioral difficulties which are often caused by the foods they consume. This is what she had to say on this topic

"As the mum of two beautiful young kiddies, a son with multiple food allergies and intolerances (I think Jen was talking about my child above!) and my daughter who has mildly food intolerances. I know first-hand the experience of daily dietary restrictions…...including (shock horror!) the removal of sugar!  

Our journey prior to the removal of sugar from our family household has been an interesting one, driven by the attempt to help my son manage his allergies, eczema and asthma.  It has included many different elimination diets, supplements and alternative therapies, however the one thing that was always outstanding was the sugar issue.

It was obvious to us the effect that sugar had on our kids…particularly my son.  Erratic behavior, difficulty managing emotions, anxiety and insomnia are just some of the side effects.  After my daughter has been to a birthday party (the one place we let go of the reigns!) her behavior is monstrous!

A lot of the mainstream research says that sugar is fine for kids, it causes no behavioral issues or side effects.  That may have been the case many years ago, however these days children’s bodies are constantly being bombarded with different environmental stresses and toxins and sugar just adds to the onslaught.

Through much research and trial and error, here’s what I know about sugar and kids:

All kids love sugar.  Breast milk is naturally sweet, so they develop a palate for sweetness at an    early age.  This sweetness used to be satisfied through a piece of fruit and the consumption of healthy fats, these days access to processed, sugar laden foods is far easier than food preparation.

Sugar affects the developing brains of kids.  How?  A significant portion of our neurotransmitters in our brain are linked to our gut. It’s called the Gut-Brain Connection…google it.  The basic premise is that if our children’s guts are not receiving adequate nutrition, neither is their brain.  This has massive implications in learning and behavioral disorders.

Sugar has an immune suppressing effect.  It messes with their biochemistry on a cellular level and sends their stress hormones haywire.  Have you ever noticed the heightened behavioral response from kids after consuming sugar and the subsequent crash that follows?  This is not great at all for their developing bodies due to the cellular inflammation it creates..

Sugar directly affects insulin levels.  When these levels become out-of-whack kids are at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes….a chronic modern day disease that is driven by purely lifestyle factors.

Fruit contains sugar.  Yes it’s natural; however fruit contains fructose which is a tricky little molecule.  It manages to bypass all the other sugar processing routes and is processed by the liver and converted directly to fat.  I am not saying kids don’t need fruit, they do, just not 5 pieces a day.  If they crave it, it’s the sugar they crave.

So how can you reduce the sugar load in your household?

Start gradually!  If you go cold turkey, you will go through a withdrawal phase and trust me it’s not pretty….but interesting to observe the hold that sugar has on us though!

Introduce more plant based snacks such as vege sticks and dips such as hummus and cannellini beans.  Great for balancing the blood sugar.

Use nourishing fats like coconut oil (fantastic for gut health!) and butter (unless you are dairy allergic, then use ghee) in your cooking and baking.  Coconut oil is a fantastic source of immediate energy for kids.  Fat is your friend!

Opt for lower fructose fruits such as berries for snacks.  They are delicious in smoothies!

Start reading labels and learn as much as you can about the hidden sugars in foods…they are in breakfast cereals, tinned products, breads, crackers and numerous other conveniences.

When baking I use Rice Malt, Stevia or poached fruit as a sugar substitute. 

Getting rid of sugar from your families diet can be challenging and you will have blowouts…we all do, that’s part of being human.  However the change in our household (from ALL of us, not just the kids!) after getting rid of sugar has been amazing.  Behavior has settled down, food reactions have minimized, homework is getting done and even my husband and I have clearer heads and less tiredness.  It’s all fantastically positive!"

So, from two mums passionate about sugar-free if we can help you to improve your child’s health and behavior we will be happy! You can help us to spread the sugar-free message and realise that when we say we don’t give our children sugar they are not missing out. We have made a decision to do the best possible thing for the wellbeing of our children, just like those parents of children with seemingly more serious allergies or difficulties.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Introducing Inspired Wellbeing - 'Mum of The Moment' Sponsor

I would like to introduce you to our brand new Mum of the Moment sponsor for 2013 -  Inspired Wellbeing.  Inspired Wellbeing have been generously sponsoring Body Beyond Baby's Challenges throughout 2012 giving a lovely hamper to one of our winners.  We are very excited to now have Inspired Wellbeing as part of our monthly 'Get to know and celebrate a BBB Mum'. To help us congratulate our awesome mums even further each Mum of the Moment with receive a $65 gift voucher to pamper herself through their online store.

Inspired Wellbeing is an Australian owned family business and is the largest dedicated online health and wellness store in Australia. They make keeping healthy, easier, cheaper and more convenient. They specialise in promoting and supplying natural health products to improve lifestyle, health and wellbeing. 

Their product offering appeals to people of all ages who understand the nutritional and health benefits of natural health and organic food products and who enjoy superior quality. Inspired Wellbeing caters for vegetarian and vegan customers, those seeking gluten-free or kosher foods, people with food allergies and those who are unwell as well as pregnant women and families with young children, anybody in fact who looks after their health and wellbeing. Inspired Wellbeing deliver to your home or office, allowing the elderly, busy mums and executives, those less mobile and regional customers access to a vast range of products without the stress of having to get to the shops. Their prices are very competitive and our shipping affordable. 

Inspired Wellbeing would like to kindly offer all Body Beyond Baby members or friends, free shipping on all orders over $50. Valid for deliveries to Sydney only until 28 February 2013. Simply use the voucher code BBB upon checkout. This is a single use coupon so can only be used once per customer. 

Click on the logo below to go directly to their website at www.inspiredwellbeing.com 

Thank you Inspired Wellbeing!