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Stump The Savvy Sugar Sleuths: We Help the Mom of A Sugar-Loving Tot

Posted Dec 19 2008 12:13am

Folks, today I'm launching a new feature, "Stump The Savvy Sugar Sleuths," in which I answer some of your sugar questions, often with the help of a cutting-edge doctor or nutritionist. This feature will be part of my Stop SUGAR SHOCK! E-zine, but today I'm including it first on the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog. Make sure to sign up now for your free e-zine so you can get it e-mailed directly to your in box.

Hi Connie,
I'm the mother to a very picky 2-year-old girl.  One of the few things she eats is oatmeal, but the brand she likes has quite a bit of sugar in it.  I've been thinking of replacing it with plain oats, and adding crushed fresh fruit to sweeten it.  However, aside from the fact that she may refuse to eat the plain-oat-and-fruit mixture, the brand of oatmeal she eats is fortified with
all sorts of good vitamins and minerals -- iron, calcium, zinc., etc., while plain oats aren't (at least, not the brand at my supermarket). My question: Does the sugar in her oatmeal affect her body's ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals?  Would I be better off giving her the plain oats with fruit, even without the vitamins? Thanks! Jennifer

Jennifer, Good question. Although I know the answer to this, I decided to turn to some of my favorite, knowledgeable  medical experts, who've been amazingly helpful to me while I was researching and writing SUGAR SHOCK!

First, you'll hear from the always-informative Fred Pescatore, M.D., M.P.H., a traditionally trained, but nutritionally savvy physician. The New York-based Dr. Pescatore is the kind of doctor I wish everyone could treat and help. His resume is quite impresssive. For example, he has authored several books, including The Hamptons Diet; he's former medical director for Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City, and he's contributed to DiabetesinControl.com:

"The only reason the oats you give her is fortified with vitamins is because all of the vitamins naturally found in the oats were removed when it was processed and all the sugar was added to replace them," Dr. Pescatore says. "If you buy organic whole oats, then all of those vitamins, minerals and nutrients are NATURALLY found in the oats. 

"My advice is to give your daughter the plain oats with some fruit thrown in or better yet, curb her sweet tooth now and start weaning off of the the sugar.  Many babies are picky eaters and only become more picky when you allow that behavior to flourish.  Feed your kids what is best for them, not what they want. They are not going to starve themselves to death."

Next, we'll hear from the remarkable sugar expert, Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., author of Lick the Sugar Habit and Lick the Sugar Habit Sugar Counter. Dr. Appleton is a bona fide pionner; she has been exhaustively researching and speaking out about sugar's dangers since the 1970s. Not only is she one smart lady, and I like to think of her as one of my mentors. (Actually, both Fred and Nancy have been incredibly gracious to me.)

Dr. Appleton explains: "The sugar so upsets the body chemistry that the minerals not only do not absorb but can become toxic in the body. Toxicity is the cause of disease. Give your child a vitamin/mineral supplement if you want -- but not the sugary oatmeal.

"Hopefully your child will accept oatmeal with fruit in it.  If she will not eat the first oatmeal, try another and another and different fruits. If worse cones to worse, try some stevia on it if worse, but not Splenda," she advises. "You also could try oatmeal, covered with a little butter. Also experiment with millet, which is the best grain you can eat. All grains are acid forming, but millet is the only one that has an alkaline effect."

Got a question? Fire away. Stump me; stump other experts! We're happy to help. And remember to sign up now so you get your Stump The Savvy Sugar Sleuths answer e-mailed directly to you.

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