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#31 of 50 Old 01-08-2012, 04:17 AM
 
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We have a sweets  section in the cabnit.No  issues with the kids.Dh on the other hand could eat a bag of chocolate in one sitting!

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#32 of 50 Old 01-08-2012, 01:37 PM
 
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My only thought on the evolutionary idea is that technology/diet has changed faster than evolution.  Like previous posters said, tastes that were once scarce (sweet, rich(fat), etc.) that we are engineered to want are now readily available.  A person who may have a stronger genetic tendency to eat more of these things can reproduce before sucumbing to diet-related death (heart attack, stroke, etc.) and pass those genes along.

 

I know anecdotal evidence isn't the most valid, but it is what we base our decisions on food in our house, so here's our thoughts.  DH and I both grew up in pretty much unrestricted homes.  Both were very conventional, with few fruits/veg snacks, but lots of processed foods.  I can regulate myself and just have a few cookies, DH can't stop till he eats the whole box.  Neither of us were actually taught skills to regulate ourselves, I just did naturally and he did not.

I love junk food and don't work out like I should, and still have a very healthy body;  target BMI, low BP, low cholesterol.  DH road bikes daily, tries to monitor his food, etc., but has always battled with being overweight.  His whole family does.  We have a family photo of his Grandpa Elmer (awesome name, BTW) severely obese  (in an old sleeveless undershirt, no less) eating these GIANT, cold hot dogs, surrounded by 10+ grandchildren, many a bit husky (DH word, not mine) themselves.   Evolution can't keep up! 

 

Conversely, we have a friend who grew up in a VERY strict vegan/NO refined sugar home (before it was cool).  She really doesn't care for anything super sweet except in very small quantities.  To her, fruit is wonderfully sweet, and a chocolate covered Trader Joe's Joe Joe is the epitome of decadence.    Is this just her natural palette, or is it due to her environment?  Beats me,  but she is the only person with that background I know, and turns down desert more than any other person I have ever known.

 

We are aiming for somewhere in the middle.   I do have ultimate control, but with a lot of discussion and guided choices.  As DS gets older I am slowly giving him more control of what and when he eats.  We don't make it a big deal and DH and I model the behavior.   We don't put the sweets on a pedestal, like they are the end all and be all of deliciousness, because, as other posters have said, I think that leads to gorging, but we talk about healthy vs. unhealthy, and sugary items are labeled 'treats.'  Treats are delicious, but not for all the time, and aren't available all the time.  Just like I don't wear my beautiful sequin dress everyday (DS likes dress-up...).   I really want this pattern of eating to be the one his habits and idea of 'normal' is based off of when he makes decisions all for himself.  I guess I am a true behaviorist at heart and believe behavior can be taught/shaped.

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#33 of 50 Old 01-08-2012, 09:43 PM
 
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there is something about food personality too.

 

here we are talking about sugars.

 

but there are i believe two kinds of people. sugar and savory people. 

 

my bro and i were raised the same way. no sugar initially except the normal with very healthy diet. YET my bro acted like there was no tomorrow when he found sugar. i didnt care. i'd give him all my sugar stuff. 

 

but on the other hand give me good bread with butter, or chips and oh boy i dont stop till i am done. 

 

the other day i LOL when i read the nutrition info for the bag of chips. serving size was about 13 chips. gosh i laughed my head off. who eats only 13 chips. i ate almost 1300 chips the whole day. 

 

i wonder. i think most people have some sort of food addiction. that they have to struggle not to chow down. for some its sugar for others - savory or fat. 

 

today it pains me to see people have forgotten how to eat in just under a 100 years. we rely too much on taste. not how it makes you feel. food is now become a convenience - no longer about nutrition. 


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#34 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 07:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrai View Post

I suppose it's possible that there's a genetic basis for some people. But humans are programmed and evolved to eat a balanced diet when it's available. Being programmed to eat only or primarily unhealthy food when a variety is available makes no sense biologically and doesn't appear in any non-primate beings. It has to either have a social basis, or be a genetic dysfunction, as it places the beings it affects at a significant disadvantage for life and successful reproduction.

 

Culture dictates what peoples' habits are, not biology, for the most part (disorders notwithstanding). I don't believe that given a blank slate, a normal human brain and body is programmed to do what's bad for it in the long term. Culture and environment mess with it by elevating certain things beyond their place. By forcing "healthy" food and both demonizing and deifying "unhealthy" food, it seems like our western culture creates its own problems. Force develops a negative association, scarcity and intermittent reward develop positive associations. Healthy food is forced, sweets are in most homes at the very least scare (thus valuable). Of course people are going to make poor choices if faced with a choice between something that brings up happy memories and a feeling of euphoria at achieving the "forbidden," and something that brings up unhappy ones. I'm willing to bet that a child force-fed sweets who had vegetables, grains and protein restricted and given the same scarce/valuable status sweets attain in most homes, the child would beg and whine and throw tantrums in the produce aisle, and gorge on them whenever available.

 

If human beings were naturally helpless to their whims and only programmed to eat sugar and to need to learn "self-control" to deal with it appropriately, we'd have gone extinct right out of the gate. The body cannot survive on sugar alone, and the unprocessed mind knows it. If that weren't the case, we'd see epidemic obesity and little reproductive function (for lack of nutrition) in tribes surrounded by tasty, easily available and plentiful fruit, but where other forms of food are scarce or required increased effort to get, because all they'd eat is fruit. But we don't see that. We see people who go to great lengths to have diversity in their diet, even eating things that are disgusting to the human palate. If self-control factored into it, we'd expect to see a large sector of every one of these populations suffering disease and malnourishment from poor diet rather than for lack of availability. But we don't. We only see that in a few societies with a few very specific cultural elements.

 

Biology aside, I question whether someone can learn impulse control by being controlled. Doesn't external control completely defeat the purpose of self-control? I'm not trying to start an argument or put you down, but I'm genuinely curious what the basis of these ideas are. I hear them repeated so often, but outside of the modern western world, there doesn't really seem to be any basis for them.



 




i think your biological argument lacks supporting research.

everything i have read points to the fact that humans do in fact crave sweet tastes and sugar.  and high-fat foods when they are available. 

you speak of "tribes surrounded by fruit" and nothing else.  where are/were these people? 

i'm curious upon what evidence you are basing your research.

the very reason there is an epidemic of diabetes, overweight people, etc. is because humans, sadly, have evolutionarily developed the need (which promoted survival) for high calorie, and sweet foods.  even michael pollen speaks to this and how our biological need contrasts with industrial production.  and some people are genetically more predisposed to having issues with sugar/fats/etc. than others but the biological basis for all humans is pretty similar.

it's a tad insulting if you are implying that free-feeding kids sugar is not teaching self control. 


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#35 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 09:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vrai View Post

Biology aside, I question whether someone can learn impulse control by being controlled. Doesn't external control completely defeat the purpose of self-control? I'm not trying to start an argument or put you down, but I'm genuinely curious what the basis of these ideas are. I hear them repeated so often, but outside of the modern western world, there doesn't really seem to be any basis for them.


 

How/why would external control necessarily and entirely defeat the purpose of self-control? Can't there be both going on at the same time, especially when we're dealing with kids who are still growing and learning? I've seen this argument before, in discussions about Unconditional Parenting and things along those lines, and it never makes sense to me.


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#36 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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My kids get one sweet a day, generally just after they get home from school. If there's snacking with the tv at night, we do popcorn, fruit and cheese or pretzels.


Kids who never get sweets often gorge when their parents aren't around. Too many times I've seen these kids at my kids birthday parties tearing through cake, candy and ice cream like there's no tomorrow.
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#37 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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Quote:
How/why would external control necessarily and entirely defeat the purpose of self-control? Can't there be both going on at the same time, especially when we're dealing with kids who are still growing and learning? 

IRL I have yet to meet an adult that as a child was severely limited on their "sweets" intake and can do this when they grew up- all the ones I have meet go to the opposite extreme and gorge

 

 

 

Quote:
Kids who never get sweets often gorge when their parents aren't around.

I've seen this countless times and really those grow up to be adults and binge on sweets and I have seen the opposite with those who are allowed (without super strict moderation) know how to regulate later in life. I married one! It didn't work for him or his sister- college away (it was 100% sugar high) and has yet to stop later in life.

 

and I mean gorge out far above a bit - pig out


 

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#38 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Kids who never get sweets often gorge when their parents aren't around. Too many times I've seen these kids at my kids birthday parties tearing through cake, candy and ice cream like there's no tomorrow.



I just witnessed this first hand the other day!  We always have sweets in the pantry (cookies usually, sometimes chocolate) and my kids will ask, "Mom, can I have a cookie?" and unless it's close to mealtime, I say sure.  They take one, and go on their merry way.  Anyway, DS's friend, and his two siblings came over the other day.  They come from a VERY strict household with tons of food rules, no snacking, all meals are formal sit-down occasions, etc. DS asked if he could have a cookie and one for his friends too, so I said sure.  Half an hour later, I went into the pantry and the brand new box of cookies was EMPTY!  I asked DS where they were and he said his friend and his friend's sister ate them all.  He said they were literally filling their pockets with cookies because they never got them at home.   I'd rather allow a cookie or two regularly than have my kids binge on them when the opportunity arises because they fear they'll never get them again.

 


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#39 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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Alfie Kohn says that children learn to make decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.

 

I think he has an excellent point.  For example, dd (6), decides how much dessert she will eat, and when.  We've made sure her eyes are wide open to the details of it all (health, weight, belly ache, mood, etc), but not in a leading sort of way.  Especially if we are somewhere where there is food to be had (potluck), my children are allowed to eat what they would like, and in whatever quantity. 

 

The last time, dd said, "Mama, I want to try it all, but I know it will make my belly hurt, and I just don't have room.  What can I do?"  So, I showed her that I often cut a smaller piece, so I can try lots of things.  She was pleased with the idea, and didn't have too much dessert.  More than usual, yes, but not too much.

 

She knows what is too much for her only by being allowed to try it out.  She knows how she feels, and how she'd like to feel.  Sometimes she makes an unwise choice, but, then again, so do I.  If I tell her what to do, even if I give her a good explaination, I am still only giving her the explaination to manipulate her to my will.  Sometimes, I do just that...but I think it is important to be honest about it.  If I tell her she cannot have candy because were are going out, and I don't want to deal with the sugar high, that's about me...not about any lesson she is truly learning. 

 

It is also important to not be truly invested in the decision.  She has made herself sick on strawberries before.  I helped her clean up, and I soothed her belly ache a bit, but made sure to point out where it came from, and what happened.  Not in a mean shaming way, just the, "see, the facts of life got you" kind of way.  She has never done it again...

 

Now, if my child wasn't ready to make those decisions, or to benefit from the true (not imposed) consequence, then they would not be making those decisions.  I am thinking right now of my 1 and 2 year olds.  At another holiday thingy, dd3 (1yo), kept getting cookies off the table.  Well, why not?  Everyone else is, and they are pretty and yummy.  I didn't tell her no.  I just took her to the other part of the building to play ball.  I don't have to make a big deal out of something that really is, and should be, in their court.  If they can't handle the decision, then the decision does not exist.  (As in, they do not know about the availability of junk food.)

 

But, as their maturity and abilities increase, so should my trust and confidence in them.  With my children, I am slowly opening the gate, so to speak, slowly making their world a little wider, and a little wider, as they are able to handle it.  I don't want to overwhelm them, or confuse them, or cause them to fail too easily.  This applies to food, and to the rest of their lives. 
 

Quote:.
Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post


 

How/why would external control necessarily and entirely defeat the purpose of self-control? Can't there be both going on at the same time, especially when we're dealing with kids who are still growing and learning? I've seen this argument before, in discussions about Unconditional Parenting and things along those lines, and it never makes sense to me.



 


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I've seen this countless times and really those grow up to be adults and binge on sweets and I have seen the opposite with those who are allowed (without super strict moderation) know how to regulate later in life. I married one! It didn't work for him or his sister- college away (it was 100% sugar high) and has yet to stop later in life.

and I mean gorge out far above a bit - pig out

See the people I know who tend to gorge on junk food are all people who grew up in homes with completely free access to it.

I can't say I know anyone who wasn't allowed any sweets though, so I can't really compare...

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#41 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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I just witnessed this first hand the other day!  We always have sweets in the pantry (cookies usually, sometimes chocolate) and my kids will ask, "Mom, can I have a cookie?" and unless it's close to mealtime, I say sure.  They take one, and go on their merry way.  Anyway, DS's friend, and his two siblings came over the other day.  They come from a VERY strict household with tons of food rules, no snacking, all meals are formal sit-down occasions, etc. DS asked if he could have a cookie and one for his friends too, so I said sure.  Half an hour later, I went into the pantry and the brand new box of cookies was EMPTY!  I asked DS where they were and he said his friend and his friend's sister ate them all.  He said they were literally filling their pockets with cookies because they never got them at home.   I'd rather allow a cookie or two regularly than have my kids binge on them when the opportunity arises because they fear they'll never get them again.

 

 

sad but it's true - it certainly does happen- I ran a GS troop for years and saw this ALL the time---food hoarders 20 years before the TV shows

 

 

 

Quote:

Alfie Kohn says that children learn to make decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.

 

 

 

this also goes for how some parents approach alcohol use (that's also a sugar that most people don't get why some abuse it)


 

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#42 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 01:12 PM
 
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I'm not sure what you are saying? 

Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

this also goes for how some parents approach alcohol use (that's also a sugar that most people don't get why some abuse it)



 


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#43 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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I think that what people have seen is that either extreme - completely restricting/controlling sugar or allowing free access to all types of sweets/treats/junk without any type of parental input - is what doesn't work. This is what I am seeing from this thread. 

 

I think some children (due to genetics or their personallity) need parents who fall more towards the restrictive side of the spectrum in order to learn healthy habits while others (who don't have a sweet tooth or who are more naturally self-regulating) will benefit from having more control themselves.

 

This is very simplistic and I'm sure lots of other considerations play into this too (how parents model healthy eating habits or do not, what the school environment is like, what friends have in their lunches, what culture dictates in terms of portion size and food choices, and likely many other things as well).

 

We all want what is best for our children, and what is best for one child or family is not always best for another whether this has to do with discipline, diet, education, sleep, etc.


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#44 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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I'm not sure what you are saying? 

 

 

two parts - in the US their are some parents that take the same view for drinking and their stance for allowing it in younger adults (teens) -not want to derail the thread here but the  (children learn to make decisions by making decisions, not by following directions)-forbidden fruit type of analogy 

 

the are part is how many with alcohol addiction often turn to sugar and suffer from sugar addiction as well- many that do meetings follow them with caffeine and sugar highs-effecting the brain in a similar way

 

 


 

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#45 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 02:01 PM
 
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This has been a great thread for me! Our DS is almost 16 months and has never had any sweets (no graham crackers, no jam, nothing with extra sugar). We wanted to wait as long as we could so he doesn't develop the idea that food should taste sweet. Also, he's in the 1st percentile and doesn't eat much, so everything we give him needs to be nutrient-dense.

 

Ya'll have given me some great things to think about for when we actually do introduce sweets. Thanks so much for all of your replies!

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#46 of 50 Old 01-11-2012, 06:04 PM
 
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My kids are each different about self-regulating.  I think we are pretty relaxed despite the fact that I dislike and avoid sugar--in fact I eat few grains or even fruits since I seem to thrive on low carbs. 

 

My kids are older--now 9-17 years and I am pretty done with controlling their food choices beyond what I will buy and ration for fairness' sake.  I always keep token sweets around and we have a daily tea time in late afternoon.  Often with tea, but mainly it is the designated treat time.  I have mixed feelings about the tea time since they ALWAYS expect it but it keeps things quiet the rest of the day.  They like it a lot, too.  So it works.  FWIW it's very very cheap treats too.  Like generic pop tarts and the like.  I figure it's just fluff and no point in paying fancy prices--I save my money for the nicest eggs and meats and veggies.  My teen actually imitates my food choices now so that's a pretty good compliment.  She has no food-related issues (other than leaving her messes in the kichen LOL) so I think that is pretty good.  I wish the others behaved nicely about sugar but really they are a little beggish about it. :( But not too bad.  I have one who likes to hoard but I just ignore it.  She still nibbles tiny meals, dislikes most meats and proteins, and she zooms for the dessert table at potlucks and even hides candy...  I just don't make a big deal about it.  She was the most obsessive nursing toddler and preschooler I had as well.  I suspect nothing I do would make a big shift in her special food affections so I am nice about it and I figure she'll turn out fine.  None of my kids is the slightest bit overweight so that is fortunately not a factor making it more worrisome. 


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#47 of 50 Old 01-12-2012, 08:08 PM
 
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When I really, truly think about it, the reason I will not trust my kids to self-regulate is because of my DH.  If not for him we would have less processed and sugary stuff around the house and the kids would not have been taken out so many times to eat or have been introduced to things like slurpees.  I asked everyone to help me make rules "for the family" so we could have some consistency and so it wouldn't confuse DD (DS is still a little young, hasn't had much junk) but really it was so he and I could agree on a standard of nutrition.

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#48 of 50 Old 01-13-2012, 10:17 PM
 
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With ds1 (7yo), his "junk sugar limit" is 15g a day (cereal doesn't get counted, but is limited to a reasonable amount). I'm not hardcore as in counting every gram, but I have a general idea. If we stay under the limit, he often goes days without asking for sweets, and when I say "no more" he's pretty much ok with it. If I let him go much over the limit, he sometimes will get very upset when I tell him "no more." That happens for me and dp too- the more sugar we eat, the more we want.

He's one that likes having limits, though (we have very few actual rules). I'll ask him tomorrow if he thinks we should get rid of the 15g sugar limit, and I bet he'll say that we should keep it.

 

Ds2 (2.5yo), we just keep the candy out of sight, and give him as little as possible.


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#49 of 50 Old 01-14-2012, 08:39 AM
 
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We don't buy a lot of candy or cookies, but sugar is in so many things!

 

For breakfast: I serve fruit or eggs first so the palate isn't adjusting from sweet. Rule of thumb for cereal is 6 grams or less per serving as kids like it for a snack, too. Plain oatmeal or pancakes get some maple syrup. (I dispense :-) 

 

For drinks: One glass of juice, then to water, decaf tea or milk.

 

For school lunches: I'll pop one treat in each bag --small wrapped chocolate, a cookie, fruit stick etc.

 

For snacks: First, I offer an apple or a pear; if that is rejected, the child isn't really hungry, so nothing else follows. We don't have overtly sweet stuff for snacks, but the kids know that a treat must be divided among five people and they need to pace themselves. If they know their share of a treat will be there for them when they want it, they tend to be moderate. It's hardest with my oldest who is home by himself after school each day and thinks nothing of polishing off a sleeve of graham crackers. He has braces and is too impatient to peel an apple. (My middle guy also likes empty calories, but veers toward the savory. A bag of chips is not safe around him.)

 

I also have a rule that snacks must be eaten in the kitchen. While this doesn't always happen it cuts waaaaay down on mindless consumption if one has to sit at the table.

 

While we don't snack on sweets, we do have dessert. Almost every night for those who ate a healthy dinner. Although I'm a bit on the fence here, it's our little social time before bedtime. Usually lowfat frozen yogurt, sorbet or a moderately sweet fruit dessert. Dessert doesn't always happen, though, so kids know they need to eat dinner.

 

Personally, I don't like sweets very much with the exception of dark chocolate, molasses cookies and sugar in my coffee. I'd rather have a very limited amount of a good quality treat than more of a lesser quality one. While sweets definitely have a place in the spectrum of what tastes good, I also want my family to enjoy them in a self-controlled way.

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We don't keep sweets where the kids can reach them. Mostly, what chocolate or biscuits we have come out when we have guests, or for slightly special situations like a special meal. We have some very high up cupboards-the kids could not even reach to the top of them (I can't, without a chair).

 

We do, normally. restrict sweets quite ruthlessly. Sugar, normally, would only be eaten with or after a meal. This isn't actually because I'm so worried about the effects of sugar but because I am concerned about their teeth.

 

I think this is one of those things thats pretty easy when you have one small kid. When I had one or two little kids, I just kept them away from sugar and had alternatives for them. Even with bigger kids, Its not THAT hard though, at the end of the day I can always just say no and explain why. 


Raising Geek_Generation_2.0 :LET ds= 10 ; LET dd1= ds - 2; LET dd2=dd-2; IF month=0.67 THEN LET ds = ds+1; 
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