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Sugar self-regulation UPDATED first post with results

Poll Results: Self-regulation and treats

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 12% (51)
    Sugary treats were freely available when I was a child
  • 27% (108)
    Sugary treats were partially-regulated as child: only after I ate my meal, etc
  • 8% (32)
    Sugary treats were not allowed hardly at all (once a month or less)
  • 16% (65)
    As an adult, I have no problem eating healthy and easily choose healthy foods over unhealthy ones
  • 20% (81)
    I have to set limits for myself on treats or I'll eat too many of them
  • 13% (55)
    I can't regulate my treat consumption and it causes me health problems or distress
  • 0% (3)
    Other
395 Total Votes  
post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
I'm very curious about letting a child self-regulate food - especially treats and such. If DD had her way she would eat nothing but ice cream all day, and I'm too afraid to see if she would eventually self-regulate or if it would become a sugar/ice cream addiction. So currently we don't have ice cream in the house. I'm trying to get an idea of how allowing them to self-regulate or not in childhood affects adult food choices and health.

Please choose an option for when you were a child and an option for you as an adult.

This should be an anoymous poll if I got it right (this is my first attempt at a poll)

SUMMARY OF RESULTS SO FAR:

1. Of the people who had NO regulation as children:

42% have no trouble self-regulating as adults
8% have to regulate themselves
50% can't regulate treat consumption and it causes them problems

2. Of the people who had partial regulation as children:

39% have no trouble self-regulating as adults
50% have to regulate themselves
11% can't regulate treat consumption and it causes them problems

3. Of the people who had very strict control over treats as children:

20% have no trouble self-regulating as adults
0% have to regulate themselves
80% can't regulate treat consumption and it causes them problems
post #2 of 74
I feel like as a kid the way "treats" were limited was that they weren't in the house all the time. We didn't get store bought cookies and stuff, only homemade. My mom definetly had trouble with sugar so she would limit it or she would eat it all. I don't keep lots of "treats" in the house all the time. If they are here I eat them, if they are not here I do sometimes go buy some. Dp is way worse than me. I don't know what we'll do when DS gets older. I guess we'll try not to have tons of stuff in the house so its not freely available.
post #3 of 74
I checked that treats were partially regulated but most of that was because I'm from a large family. Once 10 people have a portion, whatever it was was usually gone. We were not limited in how we handled consuming our Halloween treats or Easter basket contents. We could have seconds of dessert if there was enough. We could have all the Christmas cookies that were served as dessert as we wanted. We had desserts most nights. We could spend our allowance on candy.

I feel having those things not strictly limited really helped me self regulate as an adult.

I remember realizing, at about age 12, that if I really wanted a donut or a candy bar that I could go buy one at any time from one of the stores within walking distance. That made me feel able to not eat something simply because it was available because I realized it was always available so I could postpone it until I really wanted it (and I would keep thinking I didn't want it that badly and kept postponing it because I did have a good understanding of health and nutrition.)
post #4 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
I'm very curious about letting a child self-regulate food - especially treats and such. If DD had her way she would eat nothing but ice cream all day, and I'm too afraid to see if she would eventually self-regulate or if it would become a sugar/ice cream addiction. So currently we don't have ice cream in the house. I'm trying to get an idea of how allowing them to self-regulate or not in childhood affects adult food choices and health.
What I have observed with not regulating my ds with such things as ice cream is that the first day we have it, he will eat it almost exclusively. The second day he will eat a fair bit. the third day he will ask for it but won't actually eat more than a couple bites. If we don't have ice cream for a long period, this cycle will repeat. If we keep it in the house, he'll just have a serving now and then (and maybe for breakfast but, hey, it has a low glycemic index so there are worse choices).
post #5 of 74
Thread Starter 
It kind of sounds like if the environment you were in as a child naturally self-regulated the treats (e.g. large family, or not enough money to buy frequent treats, or whatever) then as an adult we're pretty good about naturally self-regulating.

But maybe if it was perceived by the child as a control thing (they weren't allowed to have treats purely because the parent said no) then as an adult there is an overreaction to that. Maybe.

I realized I made a mistake in my poll in that I can't see the correlation between who chose what in childhood and how it is in adulthood. Doh. Well maybe if people feel like elaborating that would help me. Thanks for your responses so far!
post #6 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
But maybe if it was perceived by the child as a control thing (they weren't allowed to have treats purely because the parent said no) then as an adult there is an overreaction to that. Maybe.
Makes sense to me. My mom thinks she overeats because she was not breastfed on demand as an infant (she was breastfed on a schedule). I was breastfed on demand. I overeat when I am tired which is a pretty natural response to being tired and trying to stay stimulated and awake. I also overeat when I'm frustrated but not so much when I'm depressed.

I did go through a few tummy aches at potlucks or Thanksgiving because there was so many yummy things to taste but after a few times, I learned to take tiny spoonfuls to taste and go back for what I liked instead of eating a full portion of every mediocre thing and then going back for seconds.
post #7 of 74
I don't remember being regulated as a kid. I was super skinny as a kid and could eat as much as I wanted. However, I have a bad time regulating myself as an adult. I think this stems from my step mom having poor body image and she was constantly regulating her own intake (always on a diet). When I got to be older, my metabolism slowed and suddenly I found I couldn't eat whatever I wanted any longer without gaining weight. That is when my idea of having to regulate my intake kicked in because that is what I saw my step-mom do. As a result, I have been off and on diets for the last 20 years - and I am still overweight.

So there is a curve ball for you.....
post #8 of 74
We had no limits on sugar. Usually 5 to 7 sugar servings a day--including breakfast and in my school lunch. I have terrible sugar problems.

When I got married, my husband brought a 5 and a 7 year old to our marriage. The girl had horrible sugar problems. My husband has many obese siblings. Having an obese mother myself and sugar problems myself, I set limits on the kids. They could have 1 sugar food a day. They could choose what it was and when it was as long as it didn't replace a meal. This seemed to work pretty well. They got to do some self-regulation but within limits we set.

Now we have a 2.5 year old. The only "treats" he gets are smoothies (made with plain, not frozen yogurt when we're home.) He is also allowed to have scones as long as they don't have frosting on them. On a recent trip to San Francisco we allowed him to have sticky rice with mangos. This week we picked peaches and made a pie out of them. It's not very sweet. He was allowed to have a bit of that.

When he gets older we will not be able to say no to sugar foods. Given my problems, we don't keep much in our house, anyway. I hope we can allow him to totally self-regulate. However, if we find it a problem we will institute the one sugar a day rule.
post #9 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mybabysmama View Post
We had no limits on sugar. Usually 5 to 7 sugar servings a day--including breakfast and in my school lunch. I have terrible sugar problems.
It kind of sounds like you weren't allowed to self-regulate, because the only things offered to you had sugar in them, so you couldn't listen to your body because listening to your body meant you would go hungry. Does that sound like a possibility?

I hadn't thought of that... but that's how the neighbors are raising their (very overweight) 5 year old; she's only ever offered sweetened drinks and sweetened breakfast cereal, etc, and doesn't have any other options, really.
post #10 of 74
This is really of interest to me. My mom always had candy or sweets accessible to me and I have no prob w/ that stuff. Don't get me wrong I LOVE dessert. DD wants ice cream every day. We do regulate sweets , stressing that it's just not good all the time. DD is 5, I think i was more like 8 when I was making my own choices......
post #11 of 74
I voted:

Sugary treats were freely available when I was a child;

As an adult, I have no problem eating healthy and easily choose healthy foods over unhealthy ones


I think it's accurate to say that there was self-regulation of sugar when I was kid. I imagine someone would have stepped in had we gone too far, but we really ate whatever we wanted, whenever. I never remember having a conversation about treats and how much we could have. We did have ice cream and snacks in the house all the time, not really candy until I started buying it myself at age 11 or 12.

As an adult, I feel I eat a healthy diet overall. I do have little binges I indulge from time to time, but I wouldn't choose anything different.
post #12 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
It kind of sounds like you weren't allowed to self-regulate, because the only things offered to you had sugar in them, so you couldn't listen to your body because listening to your body meant you would go hungry. Does that sound like a possibility?
No, there was plenty of other food in the house. Usually fruit for snacks. My dad ate cereal for breakfast and my mom often made my brother waffles for breakfast, but I didn't like those foods. Usually leftovers in the fridge that could have been easily heated. We really had no restrictions on what we ate or when we ate it. I liked (and still like) the taste of sugary foods. So does my mom, though I don't keep much, if any, in my house. Her pantry has tons of sweet choices. She is obese, I am not.

Typical childhood daily sugar consumption:

Breakfast: frozen hostess cupcakes

lunch: Suzy Q's along with sandwich, etc.

after school: pepsi plus ice cream or chips

after dinner: a couple pepsis plus ice cream or chips

lots of small frozen milky way or snicker bars throughout day.

What is interesting to me is that we also watched TV almost constantly, When I moved out of my parents' at 18 I stopped watching TV but continued with the food challenges. TV and sugar were out of control when I was a child. One issue haunts and challenges me to this day, the other I'm simply not interested in. My grandfather was an alcoholic. Food addictions are similar to alcohol addictions. I wonder if my food cravings are habit or genetic (or both.)

Also, we don't put any restrictions on what our kids can eat. Our 2.5 year old is always getting in the fridge or cupboards and helping himself. However, since all he has access to is healthy food, it's not an issue. We actually figure it's better to graze when you're hungry than not eat until later. We still eat designated meals, but we're just not hung up on snacks since all he can eat is healthy. We figure the healthy body craves the nutrients it needs, so let him get those nutrients. We recently discovered larabars. Dates, cashews, and maybe dried fruits. We call them candy bars and he loves them. Hope he gets past his current obsession with them (he often eats one a day) since they're expensive. Mainly he snacks on fruit and sometimes cheese throughout the day.
post #13 of 74
I answered partially regulated, I also came from a large family on a tight budget so deserts, candy, treat ect never lasted long.

I answered as an adult I have no problem eating healthy food

.... but, as an older child/teenager (once I was able to purchase my own candy and treats) I went completely wild. I would eat bags of candy, giant candy bars, whole pints of ice cream in one sitting. Yuck... and so I learned
post #14 of 74
My parents never had total bans on anything and didn't even limit things very much, but they did provide some guidelines like not eating sweets before a meal and continuously educating us and discussing healthy eating choices. I think the best thing they did for us was model good eating choices and did not stock the house with junk food. We usually had a few treats available for dessert but never many chips or candy or other junky food available for snacks.

As an adult I eat better than most people I know. We generally don't have dessert but might eat a little ice cream before bed. When I met my DH he could not put a pint of ice cream back in the freezer, once the lid came off it was a goner. But he has learned to control that now.

Even our DS is very willing to follow set limits on candy snacks and doesn't beg for sweet treats at home very often (usually because there aren't any). He will beg for candy at stores and we do allow it at times or if someone offers it to him at a store or event.

I met someone recently who had a total ban on all candy for her kids. I can't really imagine doing that, it seems better to pound home messages of moderation and learning how to manage balance in their diets. Otherwise I feel like it just gives treats more power when you impose a total ban.
post #15 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mybabysmama View Post

We recently discovered larabars. Dates, cashews, and maybe dried fruits. We call them candy bars and he loves them. Hope he gets past his current obsession with them (he often eats one a day) since they're expensive. Mainly he snacks on fruit and sometimes cheese throughout the day.
It is easy to make the LaraBars yourself in a food processor. There is a recipe in one of the MDC forums that had a simple recipe for them I tried to find the link but couldn't (I just have a print out in my recipe binder). But basically you just grind nuts of your choice until very fine and oil has been released. Then you add chopped dates and some cinnamon, nutmeg and/or other spices to taste and chop until it all kind of comes together in a ball in the processor. Then you roll it out between layers of wax paper, cut bars and package them individually or between layers of wax paper inn an airtight container in the fridge. Very yummy and definitely cheaper.
post #16 of 74
There was always plenty of sugar and junk food available in my house. We were encouraged not to worry about our health and to indulge in sugary snacks whenever we wanted. We all had a big bowl of ice cream together every night with lots of toppings. I guess it was a fun ritual but I have had weight problems my whole life and I wish my junk food intake had been regulated.

If there is junk food in the house (especially chips) I have a really hard time not eating it.
post #17 of 74
When I was growing up treats were a once-in-a-while thing. If we had them in the house we could eat them, but most of the time there just wasn't junk food in the house. My mom didn't buy sugary cereals (except on very rare occasions), and we only had dessert when we had company. It was aways the joke in our house that if my mom was baking something I'd ask her who was coming for dinner. I never felt that I was denied treats, but I did grow up understanding that they weren't for everyday. Today I can enjoy the occasional treat without obsessing about fat and calories or consuming to the point of nausea and I hope my kids will be able to do the same. Nowadays a treat is a homemade popscicle made with plain yogurt and pureed fruit.
post #18 of 74
Sugar wasn't restricted when I was a kid. I could go to the store freely to buy candy bars, ice cream, etc...

These days I do indulge in treats, sometimes more often than not, but I feel in control. I usually eat very healthily.
post #19 of 74
I could have treats anytime I wanted growing up. I do have to limit myself as an adult. I am health conscious, so it isn't a huge issue. I mainly do not buy any kind of treats or junk. On occasion, I will make special treats for the kids, and they really think they are special occasion type things. kwim DH on the other hand has major sugar issues. He keeps it out of the house, but he overindulges when he is out.
post #20 of 74
This is a really really big issue for me.

I am overweight and I have food addiction issues. I am working through this and I know where it comes from. I have major trouble self regulating because it's always (irrationally) in my mind that I may never get a chance to have have that chocolate, ice cream, fries, chips, whatever again.

I grew up in a house with a mother who had major food issues. She classifies all food as either good or bad. She is a perfect weight for her height and age and at most has been (in the past) 10-15 pounds over ideal weight. She constantly diets and takes anything that she can get her hands on the regulate her weight.

As a child we had absolutely no treats in the house. A special dessert might be ice cream on rare occasions. There wasn't anything kept in the house and even pop was only kept in the locked liquor cabinet for mixing drinks.

I am doing the opposite for my daughter. She is 5, loves food (I am a former chef and own a baking business now), loves cooking and will eat anything. She eats very healthy meals and snacks but has access to treats if she wants them. I do expect her to have healthy meals and that's what she gets, no processed foods and loads of fruits, veggies and grains. She is allowed dessert if she wants and can have treats throughout the day if she likes.
She is completely self regulating, will refuse dessert if full and will stop eating a treat if she's had enough. She will also happily choose something more healthy if she's not feeling like a treat.
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