Get the Sugar out of the Family Diet

The typical family diet is overloaded with sweet stuff. I am starting on a quest to keep it away from my kids. We all know that sugar is bad for us and that sugar causes an increase in insulin production and overtime we will store more fat, crave more and store more fat and so on. By removing sugar from our family diet as much as we can effectively control insulin and help to do the following:

  • Maintain steady energy all day long (no crashes or swings).
  • Increase our mental clarity, focus and concentration.
  • Increase positive behaviors in our children and ourselves.
  • Boost our immune system end enjoy a better state of health.
  • Increase the body’s ability to burn fat.
  • Slow down the destructive aging process.
  • Decrease the risks for most degenerative diseases.

Sugar is one of the most addictive substances that have been sneaking into our families diets for years. Even worse, it is widely known that many food producers put insulin-spiking sugars into their products to increase the flavor where salt and fat have been reduced. According to nutritionists, it is the high-glycemic sugars that you have to really watch out for. These include raw sugar, white sugar, concentrated fruit juice, syrup, sorghum, honey, maple syrup, beet sugar, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, maltodextrin, galactose, corn syrup, dextrin, beet sugar and high-fructose syrup.

Tips to moderate your family’s sugar intake

Cut out the obvious. Soft drinks, ice cream, pastries, canned fruit, and candy are loaded with high-glycemic sugars. Encourage your kids to stay away from soft drinks. FACT: There is 10 tablespoons of sugar in one can of soft drinks.

Remove ketchup from the table for every meal; try to get your kids accustomed to eating without it. FACT: There is 1 tablespoon of added sugar in every tablespoon of ketchup.

Establish rules about dessert. For example, if you have dinner after every meal, only have dessert after dinner. Only eat dessert on odd days of the month, or only on weekends, or only at restaurants. If you have daily desserts, then have raw fruit at least half the time.

Expose your children to fruits like dates and figs, which taste almost like morsels of caramel and also happen to be high in fiber.

Go half and half. Mix half a carton of sweetened yogurt with half a carton of plain yogurt. Mix half a cup of regular juice with half a cup of water or sparkling water . Do this for a couple of weeks, then cut back to one-quarter sweetened to three-quarters unsweetened. Continue until you’re only drinking the unsweetened version.

Pack a snack. Help them to resist temptation and save money too. Whether at school, at the office or on the road, there are plenty of opportunities to consume unnecessary sugars. By bringing a healthy snack, you can stay ahead of the hunger curve and you are less likely to indulge in something sweet and sugary that you will regret later. MTM Family Meals has a great selection of healthy snacks.

Watch out for ‘fat-free’ snacks. One of the biggest myths is that fat-free food doesn’t make you fat. Fat-free doesn’t mean calorie-free, and most fat-free snacks are loaded with sugar.


Shop for colour. Choose colourful fruits and vegetables for your shopping basket. The more colour, the better. Increase your consumption of fresh vegetables and low-glycemic fruits such as berries and cherries. Choose seasonal fruits for the best and sweetest kind.


Become a food detective. Start reading labels. To reduce sugar, you have to know where to find it. Take the ‘total sugars’ and divide the number of grams by 4 = The number of teaspoons of sugar you are ingesting in each serving. A reasonable amount of sugar to aim for is 10 teaspoons for day, the daily average is currently 40 tablespoons/person.

Beware of artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, these increase cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. They also deplete the body’s stores of chromium, a nutrient crucial for blood-sugar metabolism. Try natural  sweeteners like: agave syrup, regular honey or date honey.

Buy unsweetened cereal and add fresh fruit and honey at home.

Introduce your family to semi-sweet and then dark chocolate and see if they bite … the closer chocolate is to raw cacao, the better it is for your health. My kids love dark chocolate in their trail mix.

Reward yourself. While eating sugar free is not always easy do not feel like you can never have sugar again. Do not feel as thought you cannot celebrate. Just take everything in moderation and enjoy the good times.

Patricia Lalonde

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