Poisoning Our Children’s Future
The diabetes epidemic is growing so rapidly that presently 1 of every 10 adults in the U.S. has diabetes. That number is anticipated to grow to 1 of every 3 adults by 2050. That means that 1/3 of all those beautiful little kids in your child’s classroom, 1/3 of their soccer teammates and 1/3 of the kids in the Sunday school class will develop diabetes in 40 years. If these predictions are even close to accurate, these beautiful children will be devastated by heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness, amputations and premature death in midlife.
We need to take action today for the sake of our children’s future. I’m not just talking about preventing someone from becoming overweight. I’m talking about the development of diabetes, a notoriously disabling and fatal disease. I’m talking about the health and survival of your children.
In my present medical practice, I routinely see adults in their twenties and early thirties who already have diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. It may be hard for you to appreciate this, but seeing someone this young with diabetes and high blood pressure was almost unheard of 20 years ago; now it’s commonplace.
These young adults and our children are suffering from carbohydrate poisoning plain and simple. The excessive amounts of carbohydrates they are consuming on a regular basis are causing them to develop insulin resistance, the metabolic disorder that leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, heart attacks, cancer, and sleep apnea.
The evidence that carbohydrates are the driving force in the development of insulin resistance is overwhelming and continues to mount. Now is the time to take an accounting of your responsibilities as a parent and change the course of the health of your children and the entire family.
Rewarding Our Children With Sugar
The importance of sweet, carbohydrate foods are reinforced with birthday cakes, Halloween candy, and dessert for being well behaved, chocolate Easter eggs and a hundred other reasons. As innocent as these moments may seem in isolation, in a broader sense they are part of the ongoing training children receive about the foods they chose for themselves.
We need to rethink the ‘treats’ we give our kids on these special occasions in order to begin de-emphasizing their importance as part of an over all strategy within the home. If we restrict the candy, soda and junk food at home but then give them buckets of candy or plates full of brownies on special occasions, is it no surprise they complain that there is “nothing to eat” when they find a refrigerator full of fruit and vegetables.
In order for your children to move towards a healthier pattern of eating and avoid the looming risk of diabetes that threatens every one of them, you need to begin offering them snack options other than sugar filled foods. Remember, the foods you offer your children today will have a significant effect on the food choices they make for themselves in the future.
Remember, the foods you offer are part of the overall behavioral training you provide your child. Brush your teeth, make your bed, wear your seat belt, don’t smoke, be kind to the elderly and limit the carbohydrates you eat needs to be part of their education.
Take Action Now
First, think about the foods you keep in the house. It’s unfair to tell your kids not to snack when you keep a cupboard full of high-carbohydrate foods or soda and fruit juice in the refrigerator. In my opinion, these foods should only be allowed in the house on a very limited basis.
You don’t leave cigarettes in the house because you know smoking causes cancer and kills. Well, you need to apply the same thinking for the excessive carbohydrates our kids are consuming. The high level of carbohydrates in your kid’s diets is going to give them diabetes and kill them prematurely unless you make a change in the foods you keep in the house today.
Secondly, change the way you reward your child. Obesity specialists commonly advise to never use any food item as a reward and I agree. Rewarding behavior with food is an extremely potent modifier of behavior as demonstrated by Pavlov about a century ago. Try rewarding with special privileges, points that can be redeemed for a special activity or just old-fashioned praise. A little genuine affirmation goes a long way towards building healthy behavior.
But what about holidays and family events where food is a part of the tradition? This can be dealt with by a little effort and creativity. If you need ideas, just search the internet and you’ll find countless individuals with different suggestions for healthy holiday desserts and treats.
Low Carbohydrate Treats For Halloween
This Halloween I decided to change my approach to the trick-or-treaters. Instead of passing out the traditional candy, I passed our bags of beef jerky and high protein/ low carbohydrate bars. The kids loved ‘em, especially the beef jerky! I had a hunch they would like it but not as much as they did. You could hear them talking to their parents and friends how cool it was that they got beef jerky.
So from here on in, it’s going be beef jerky, protein sticks, low carb bars for the kids at Dr. Nemechek’s house. Now I wonder what kind of treat I can give the kids at my family reunion at Thanksgiving? I’ll have to hunt around on the Internet for some ideas.
Maybe a book or a jump rope or a pedometer or a ……