2 Child-Size Concepts About Treats

Two Simple Guiding Concepts to Consider

When my son was heading into adolescence, and so starting to have more food out of the home and more opportunities to buy food (and food-like substances), I realised there could be real health trouble ahead.  I suggested to him a couple of concepts to use for guidance.  It was a very brief conversation, and was only referred to again a couple of times over the years, but I know he found these concepts useful as he has incorporated them matter-of-factly into how he lives now as an adult.

Two child-size concepts about treats:

  • treat foods are fine to enjoy occasionally, but not when you are hungry.  If you are hungry, eat real food.
  • treat drinks, such as pop (soda), are alright to enjoy occasionally, but not when you are thirsty.  If you are thirsty, drink water.

For example, you deal with your hunger by eating dinner.  If dessert is served, this is eaten and enjoyed after people have had as much dinner as they want to serve themselves.

Of course, the key to this is also providing a general experience for the child that communicates what is meant by “occasionally”.  For example, my son was never exposed to the concept that pop is something you simply buy as part of your normal groceries.  It is for special events or special outings, never a routine part of daily life.  Also, something is not special if it happens every week.

I think the word “enjoy” also is key to how this worked out for him.  If it is a special occasion or special outing and you are having a treat, that is something fun – it is to be enjoyed, and then you go back to your normal life.

There was no policing or stringent application.

There is far more to healthy eating than is covered by this, but I think these two concepts are something that even small children can understand and might be useful.

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Sugar Damage and Related Research

For anyone interested in looking “behind the scenes” at the research that goes into development of medical knowledge, this is a link to what I have been doing this morning. (Note: it is not obvious, but there are 4 pages, you click at the top right.)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/collections/public/18SLu9dl8FbUgixFr7tzWyi/

I have spent the past couple of hours looking at research related to damage from high blood sugars and from molecules that have been damaged by sugar (glycation). Some of these molecules are called AGEs, which is Advanced Glycation End Products. In the body, these attach to receptors, which are thus called RAGEs, or Receptors for Advanced Glycation End Products. It gets confusing as AGEs aren’t the only damaging molecules from high blood sugars. On top of that, it is now known that RAGEs react to many other molecules that occur within the body, not just those related to sugar damage.

AGEs are produced in your body and they are also present in foods. The AGEs present in foods (bacon is, sadly, the source of the greatest amount of AGEs in the typical North American diet) have been shown in research to have damaging effects.

This list of published papers is in no way an attempt to be complete, just some interesting ones I have set aside in a list, published in the past few months, to pursue in more depth later. To be more complete, I would do other searches on PubMed  using related search terms or following the work of specific researchers. For example, the older citations on the list are because I followed backwards Dr. Ceriello’s work, for example:

Vascul Pharmacol. 2012 May 16. [Epub ahead of print]

The emerging challenge in diabetes: The “metabolic memory”

Ceriello A.

Abstract

Large randomized studies have established that early intensive glycemic control reduces the risk of diabetic complications, both micro and macrovascular. However, epidemiological and prospective data support a long-term influence of early metabolic control on clinical outcomes. This phenomenon has recently been defined as “metabolic memory.” Potential mechanisms for propagating this “memory” may be the production of reactive species unrelated to the presence of hyperglycemia, depending on the previous production of AGEs which can maintain RAGE over-expression, on the level of glycation of mitochondrial proteins and on the amount of mtDNA produced, all conditions able to induce an altered gene expression which may be persistent even when glycemia is normalized. Clinically, the emergence of this “metabolic memory” suggests the need for a very early aggressive treatment aiming to “normalize” the metabolic control and the addition of agents which reduce cellular reactive species and glycation in addition to normalizing glucose levels in diabetic patients in order to minimize long-term diabetic complications.

Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.  PMID:22609133

I generally will look at a thousand or so of these “abstracts” of published papers in a typical week, on many different health-related topics, but mostly regarding diet and nutrition.

The place to go online for information about AGEs is to the website The AGE-less Way, where you can learn about this subject and the very important work of Dr. Jaime Uribarri MD and Dr. Helen Vlassara MD.  There is much useful info on their site and they also have a book out, The AGE-less Way, available in print and on Kindle.  Dr. Uribarri was interviewed by Jimmy Moore in January 2012. http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/5670/532-dr-jaime-uribarri-warns-of-disease-making-advanced-glycation-end-products-ages/

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Review: Diet 101 by Jenny Ruhl

Diet 101: The Truth About Low Carb Diets (Kindle Edition)
This book is a natural continuation on from the author’s on-line interactions and blogging that led to her remarkable contribution Blood Sugar 101. There has been a perception that the main value of choosing to change the amount or type of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) in your diet is as a weight loss diet. Also, there has been a perception that this strategy is only valuable if applied very strictly – and this strict application then means that many people find it too difficult to keep up over time.

In Diet 101, Jenny Ruhl emphasises the fact that the greatest value from controlling carbs is in keeping blood sugars within the normal, non-damaging range. What if you’re not diabetic? Many people who do not meet the cut-off blood sugar test levels to be diagnosed with diabetes have blood sugar levels, at least for parts of the day, that are associated with slowly-accumulating harm to health. This problem is very widespread in our society.

What to do? This damage can be avoided, or at least lessened, by changing your intake of carbohydrate foods – by just as much as you need to and/or are able to. Even changes less than targeting perfection can bring benefits you might really value.

Jenny Ruhl explains all this in her new book in a clear, easy to understand manner, with all the back-up science also available for those who are interested. Also, she ties the excess swings in blood sugar to excess hunger drive and the tendency to gain weight. To be useful, this needs to be practical day-to-day, which is an important goal and strength of the book.

My review on Amazon of Jenny Ruhl’s new book.

Update: Please see my blog “Carpe Your Blood Sugar” inspired by the work of Jenny Ruhl and Dr. Richard K. Bernstein.  Links on the Resources page there to 3 interviews with Jenny.  www.carpeyourbloodsugar.com

(This post short link http://wp.me/p2jTRh-6F).