It may not come as a surprise to you that our society today consumes more sugar—specifically refined sugar products, than ever before in history. What may come as a surprise to many however, is how powerfully addictive sugar is. One of the major downfalls for humanity, and reasons for why sugar has infiltrated our society so heavily, is an undermining of its strong addictive quality and relaxed attitude about it.

The consequences of becoming heavily dependent on, and more specifically addicted to sugar today are many. It impacts us on every level of our well being—our physical, mental and emotional health. We see this today in the excess weight many of us are carrying, the increased incidence of all major chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and decrease in optimal functioning of our bodies. What is even more troubling is that all of this also pertains to the youngest members of our society. Our children are addicted to sugar as well, and either suffering already, or being predisposed to all of these conditions, greatly reducing their quality of life.

The good news is that there is always hope to turn things around, and today we have numerous resources at our finger tips to do just that. One of the most recent additions is a newly released book called Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids: The Cutting-Edge Program That Gets Kids Off Sugar Safely, Easily, and Without Fights and Drama. The book’s purpose is to teach and help parents reverse their child’s preference for highly sweetened foods. It is meant to be easy to follow, easy on the child and easy for the parent to implement the steps needed to curb their children’s sugar addiction.

In this review I will share with you more about what to expect from the book’s content and approach to dealing with children’s sugar addiction.

About the Author(s)

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids is written by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum and Dr. Deborah Kennedy and is newly published August 2012.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD](http://www.endfatigue.com/), is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider, as he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatment. He is the author of several other books, like the original Beat Sugar Addiction Now!: The Cutting-Edge Program That Cures Your Type of Sugar Addiction and Puts You on the Road to Feeling Great – and Losing Weight! and is a regular guest in media.

Deborah Kennedy PhD, is a pediatric nutritionist and the founder of Build Healthy Kids®. She has been at the forefront of nutritional studies and consumer awareness for almost two decades and her experience ranges from pediatric nutrition and nutritional oncology to product development and kids’ education programs. She has also worked in the field of childhood obesity as associate director of nutrition at Yale’s Prevention Research Center. As a nutrition consultant and researcher, Dr. Deb has worked with parents and patients to integrate cutting edge healthy eating concepts into their lives.

About the Book

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids is around 200 pages, and a well organized book for practical and easy application. It also includes many worksheets that parents can readily use with their kids, or themselves to successfully follow through on the sugar addiction removal steps. The book contains an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion. Five of the six chapters represent the five steps to beating sugar addiction.

Here is a general breakdown of the main topics covered in each chapter:

Introduction

The authors start by outlining and explaining the negative and highly addictive effects of sugar on children’s health, including increased risk for diabetes type 2, immune system problems, weight problems, nutritional deficiencies and behavioral problems to name a few. Parenting advice and encouragement when it comes to feeding kids right is also shared here.

Eating is a behavior that we teach our children like any other—healthy sleep habits, getting along with others, good hygiene.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Chapter 1 – Getting Started: The Parent Tool Kit for Ensuring Success

This chapter presents age group specific advice on how to approach dietary changes in your home with your kids, to have successful transitions off of sugar. It offers advice and ideas on how to prepare your child and your spouse, along with handling peer pressure.

At the end of the day, knowing that your children have the information and motivation to make healthy choices on their own is really what it is all about.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Chapter 2 – Step 1: How to Limit Liquid Sugar in Your Children’s Diet

This chapter tackles liquid sugar in the child’s diet and how to reduce and eliminate it from their diet, including soda, juice, flavored milk, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavored water, tea and coffee, and presents the importance of water as daily fluid of choice. It also gives a good explanation of the health problems associated with each one.

Once a product requires a laboratory to make the ingredients instead of Mother Nature, it has entered unhealthy territory.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Chapter 3 – Step 2: Revamp Breakfast

This chapter addresses breakfast foods as one of the major sources of sugar in your child’s diet, and how to transition to healthier, low-sugar options. Processed grains versus whole grains are discussed, as well as how to deal with the challenges of these changes along the way.

If you focus on giving your children only food that makes them happy, you will be training them to eat foods high in sugar, processed grains, and fat.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Chapter 4 – Step 3: Limit Sweets to One Per Day and Enjoy Healthy Snacks

This chapter explores the role of snacks in your child’s life, helps you identify unhealthy choices, and provide healthy options along with snacking frequency.

When your child is addicted to sugar, no amount of sugar-laden food is ever enough.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Chapter 5 – Step 4: Make Over Dessert

This chapter focuses on understanding where the idea of dessert came from and why it plays such an integral role in so many people’s lives, including our kids. It provides steps to reducing desserts and offers some healthier alternatives.

Our children are sugar addicts because we have allowed it, and we allow it largely because that is what the professionals who we trust have been telling us to do.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Chapter 6 – Step 5: Find and Replace Hidden Sugars

This chapter explores the hidden sources of sugar in the child’s diet including sauces and dips, granola bars, tomato based products and many more. It also teaches what to look for and how to understand the basics of the nutrition label and ingredients when shopping.

The best advice we can give is to feed your family foods that are as close to nature as possible and limit the amount of processed food in your children’s diet.

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids

Conclusion: Where Do You Go From Here?

This section provides a quick review and summary of the 5 step program’s main points.

Personal Commentary

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids will definitely be a valuable read that many families in the mainstream society today will be able to relate to. The authors take a nutritionally traditional, and what I would call a popular approach to address the needs of the majority of families out there. It was at times I must admit, tough for me to step back into that “world” and relate to dealing with the various processed foods mentioned. But as most of us have, I was once there too and can definitely appreciate the addictive hold sugar has on us and how innocently our parents try to do the best they can, given the resources they have. Of course I wish books like this did not even have to be written because each child was brought up from the start on a natural, whole foods diet….but this is still a journey a minority in our society is taking thus far. So for the time being, resources like this serve as a great stepping stone and are very much needed.

I would definitely recommend this book to any family whose household is based on processed foods. If your household runs on boxed cereals, cookies, puddings, juices, sodas, breads, condiments and the like, then chances are you need this book. The unfortunate truth is that many parents are completely unaware that their kids are actually addicted to sugar, as they too probably are themselves. So the first step is acknowledging that there is a problem, and need for change. In following through the 5 step program, parents need not fear that by implementing it, they will create havoc in their families with tantrums all around. The authors take a very gentle approach in my opinion, making sure that reductions are made sensibly and allowance of various sugar-based foods are still permitted. Through the writing of this book, the authors are not out to remove all processed sugar sources from the child’s diet, simply to reduce them.

No doubt, the book will be a very interesting read for many parents as it shares many sobering facts that each parent needs to be aware of. For example, how liquid calories (juice, soda, sports drinks, etc.) contribute the highest percentage of sugar in a child’s diet, or how today’s children have a 1 in 3 chance (in some cases 1 in 2) of developing diabetes type 2, or about the extreme dangers of energy drinks. The most empowering message that the book gives to all parents is that children’s preference for unnaturally sweet foods is learned, and can thus be unlearned.

Here are some of the highlights that I found to be particularly great for making this book a valuable resource.

Highlights:

  • Brings awareness to the dangers and seriousness of high sugar consumption
  • Very practical in how it is laid out and presented
  • Provides answers to parent’s most common questions about challenges along the way
  • Approach suggested is intended to create effective long term change, not a quick fix
  • Gives age-specific advice
  • Focuses on conscious, inclusive communication for parents with kids (ex: using “we” versus “you”)
  • Provides a variety of sound advice to choose from, to help transition kids
  • Encourages a two parent/whole family approach
  • Provides advice for handling peer pressure
  • Provides practical worksheets for the whole family
  • Stresses the dangers of caffeine products (tea, coffee, energy drinks), and encourages their complete elimination for kids
  • Encourages water as the primary fluid of choice
  • Very informative about the different sources of sugars to reduce or avoid
  • Includes lots of healthier meal and snack options, or substitutes

And while I didn’t fully resonate with all of the information shared, specifically some of the nutrition advice given, I know it is what a lot of parents need to hear in order to make a shift in their family’s dietary lifestyle. Some of the areas that I would have loved to see the authors take a more direct leading authority approach and set new standards include not calling any junk/unhealthy food a “treat”, and not being so lenient with the amount of sugar-based and processed foods still approved in the diet. It is not about deprivation or restriction, but about a fresh way of thinking and being creative when it comes to food. Today we have an abundance of quick, easy recipes that are optimally healthy, natural and whole food dessert and snack options, which can be made and enjoyed without needing flours, sugars, butters, dairy, etc. Ultimately, the book’s main focus is helping with the removal of sugar, and it should not necessarily be taken as a guide for best eating overall, in terms of quality of foods in all areas, etc.

When it came to empowering kids, I love the idea of getting kids involved in the choosing process right from the grocery store to meal planning at home. And if we can get to a stage where there are no processed foods to choose from at home, kids can then be empowered to choose from healthy food items only. But I respect that each person travels on the journey of health and wellness at their own pace, and in dealing with the mainstream a softer approach can warrant more results, versus a more direct approach which can frighten some off. Taking a step by step approach is key to success.

Here are some other possible limitations of the book, for the reader to be aware of.

Limitations:

  • A traditional diet approach is encouraged, like pushing for dairy, specifically low-fat dairy, and high protein
  • Some conflicting advice is given, like milk being declared as the main source of calcium for kids numerous times, with an explanation of problems with milk in another section
  • Not enough emphasis is placed on vegetables, and how to incorporate them as the main part of most meals
  • A traditional reward system approach is encouraged, that some parents may not resonate with
  • Calculating sugar levels in the diet and foods may not be a practical or ideal approach for some to follow
  • The suggestion to add back in “junk treats” once kids are off sugar addiction, may cause an escalation of sugar problems all over again
  • The usage of foods in moderation, which is not easily or scientifically quantifiable may be confusing for some
  • While it can be stretched to apply, it has no direct mention of being applicable to vegetarian or vegan families, which continue to be on the rise today

Finally, the authors also allude to a very noteworthy point for all parents to keep in mind. This being, that often children’s sugar addiction is simply a tool used to deal with the fast paced, stress-filled and disconnected lives that most lead in our society today. When parents are present to and for their children, and quality family time is a priority, children are less likely to seek external sources of pleasure, be it sugar, or alcohol, cigarettes, and other stimulating or mind-numbing substances in the future.

Conclusion

In the end, my hope is that this book emphasizes for parents the importance of them being the first to consistently role model healthy eating behavior to their kids. If kids are brought up in health-conscious families, so much of the complication can be avoided to begin with as healthy eating habits are established as the foundation. As the authors share “72% of what kids eat is influenced by their parents.” Regardless of the specific number, research for decades shows us that kids are most influenced by what happens in their home and imprint on their parents’ habits. So being a good example as a parent is a key start.

Taking the 5 step program to eliminate your kids’ sugar addiction will not doubt have its challenges along the way for you, your kids and your family as a whole. But taking that first step to turning things around is one of the best gifts you can ever give your children. This is also why I hope that resources like this book inspire adults who have yet to become parents, to take optimally healthy eating habits seriously right from the start, and clean up the nutrition foundation in the home before their kids arrive. Yes, it is never too late to turn things around, but it is no doubt much easier to continue with already established healthy habits.

Availability

Beat Sugar Addiction Now! For Kids is available at major bookstores, including Amazon.com below: