Giving up sugar – is this my daughter?!

Last week’s post on cutting out sugar seems to have caused quite a stir! A few of you have tried it and found it hard to keep going. Emma herself has been through it first-hand with her daughter, and while it was tough at first, the results were quite remarkable, so we thought it might be helpful to share their experience with you:

“From a personal point of view, my battle with sugar has come through my eight year old daughter. Since she was little, we have always had a battle over food. As she was our second child, she was basically allowed processed sugar way before my eldest!

She was a stubborn little thing, and was difficult to deal with during the younger years. Her behaviour was, frankly, uncontrollable. She would hit out, scream, throw food, refuse to eat anything that was not fish fingers, baked beans, chips, chicken nuggets, baked potato (covered with cheese and beans), and eat only one vegetable: broccoli. She refused milk on cereal, so ate dry Shredded Wheat Bitesize.

When she was eight years old, we went on holiday to Florida. Her behaviour was really disappointing. All the food is burgers/chips/ketchup/nachos, and a lot of the diners refill on fizzy drinks. Even the salads have cheese, sweet dressings, croutons. When we moved down to the coast for a week, we were all craving vegetables!

At dinner one evening, we were talking about an article I had read about sugar suppressing appetites. I suggested we try as a family to give up processed sugar. Both my girls do a lot of sport and I did not want to completely restrict their diet, so we still had fruit (which my youngest has always refused to eat), crisps, crackers, nuts, etc. We started making natural snacks such as Deliciously Ella’s Energy Bite (great as the girls can make them themselves over the weekend!)

Within three days, my youngest was like a different child! My life has completely changed. I am no longer trying to get her to eat. Her appetite has changed; she is trying EVERYTHING. She now eats courgette, aubergine, macaroni cheese, peppers, chilli con carne, brown rice, brown pasta and apples, to name a few! She has porridge every morning and devours it.

Her behaviour has completely changed too. She is happy, chatty, enjoys her school and her sport – she is flying. We make more things at home: savoury pancakes, Energy Bites, even a sugar free Victoria sponge.

The great thing is, she is aware of how having sugar makes her feel. At school she sometimes has the little cakes or flapjacks that they have at break time. She comes home, tells me, and says it makes her feel very tired and grumpy.

Since November, she has been pretty much sugar free and it is through her own sheer determination. Don’t misunderstand me, she still has her moments! But now she is an eight year old having “a moment”, as opposed to an eight year old acting like a two year old twenty-four-seven.

I am a very proud and, to be honest, a highly relieved mummy!”