Most mothers know it’s best to avoid sugar, but it’s often easier said than done. When we have many battles to fight, it can seem easier to overlook this one. So why is sugar bad for you and why should we avoid with autism?
Sugar depresses the immune system and contributes to inflammation. The immune system —two areas where those with autism need support. Sugar also feeds Candida, a type of yeast, common in autism. For children with autism, this combination can be particularly problematic. In this case, sugar depresses the immune system that is important for fighting Candida, contributes to further inflammation in the gut, and feeds Candida as well. All of these imbalances affect the health and behavior of children with autism.
You may be surprised to find sugar in such unlikely places. A good rule of thumb is to keep servings of sugary foods to a minimum or avoid them all together. One teaspoon of granulated sugar has 4 grams of sugar. 1 tablespoon of ketchup has a teaspoon of sugar that means it’s 1/3 sugar. When sugar is concentrated, such as in fruit juice, you are getting a lot more sugar than you’d get from eating fruit (about 4 pieces of fruit in one bottle) with no fiber to balance it out.
Limit sugar to 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving, which is about 4 grams, and minimize sweet treats all together. Here are some surprising sources and amounts of sugar:
· 1 tablespoon of ketchup has a teaspoon of sugar
· Fruit juice (12 oz), 35 grams of sugar
· GF Muffin, 20-40 grams
· 1 cup gluten-free cereal with non-dairy milk, 18 grams
· 1 cup rice milk, 14 grams
· GF Cookie, 15 grams
· Fruit leather, 8 grams
· Yogurt, 19 grams
· ¼ cup raisins, 29 grams
· ½ cup non-dairy ice cream, 15-20 grams
Being aware of the sources of sugar will help you choose wisely. Focus on getting your child a well balanced diet with a minimal amount of sugar. It’s well worth the effort, as it will support your child’s health for a lifetime.
Photo Credit: “A little sugar in my bowl” by kaibara87 on Flickr. 6/7/11