Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sugar: Scaremongers fail to mention that it also saves millions of lives

For some seriously ill children, sugar might be considered the most health-giving of all foods

There can’t be many, if any, readers of this paper who consume three cans of fizzy drinks a day, so the latest scare story – that such a level of consumption triples the risk of heart disease – will surely not apply.

However, this is just the latest scientific finding in a campaign to blame sugar for practically everything, particularly the so-called epidemic of diabetes and obesity. It is not necessarily that people are consuming more sugar, but rather, it is claimed by Californian endocrinologist and prominent anti-sugar evangelist Robert Lustig, the wrong sort: the cheap, high-fructose corn syrup often found in carbonated drinks that has replaced one third of our total sugar intake over the past 30 years.

The fact remains that sugar in any form has never been demonstrated to cause either obesity or diabetes as an independent factor distinct from total calorie consumption – that is, people eating more than they should.

Meanwhile, as the main constituent of oral rehydration therapy for children with severe diarrhoeal illnesses, sugar might be considered the most health-giving of all foods, saving an estimated two million lives a year.


Boy, 3, is cured of insomnia after eating just half a piece of the fruit before bed each night

A hint that may help some.  I might try it myself

As plenty of parents will tell you, getting a toddler to sleep isn’t always an easy task. So spare a thought for Maryann Battersby, whose three-year-old son had barely ever slept through the night.

But after years trying of different methods to help Aaron sleep well, it seems his mother has finally found the solution – half a banana.

Aaron’s nights were so disrupted he would wake up screaming, complaining of monsters and spiders.  He would jump out of bed full of life at 3am and charge around the house for the rest of the day, leaving his parents exhausted.

Miss Battersby and her partner Matthew Hopkins, both 34, dreaded the nights and tried everything to help their son get a normal night’s sleep.

Their GP and the Child Development Centre at their local hospital recommended a variety of ‘cures’ – ranging from soothing music and orange lights to putting a heavy quilt on Aaron’s bed and even changing the decor in his room – but none of them worked.

Aaron was also medicated with melatonin, a hormone normally produced by the body that regulates its daily cycle, but that failed too.

Still searching for a cure, Miss Battersby approached Vicki Dawson, a sleep expert based at Aaron’s nursery, the Arnold Centre in Rotherham, south Yorkshire.

Mrs Dawson, who had her own sleepless child, is founder of The Children’s Sleep Charity and invited the couple to a workshop at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Miss Battersby was advised to give Aaron half a solid banana before bed – and his life suddenly changed.

Since the workshop on January 17, the restless youngster has been sleeping through the night, dozing off at 8pm and waking up at 7am.

Miss Battersby said: ‘It was amazing. Now we are a normal family. Aaron goes to bed and then me and Matthew can sit down together and have time together.  ‘Aaron is amazing now – he’s a happy little boy.’

Miss Battersby, from Rotherham, added: ‘We were really at our wits’ end.  ‘We’d done everything to try and get Aaron to sleep and I would dread what the nights would hold.

‘Matthew’s a roadworker and he would have to sleep on the settee or in the spare bed because he was working 12-hour shifts and I was constantly up and down.

‘The lack of sleep was also affecting his behaviour during the day. He would hit himself, headbutt people and scream.  ‘He would also grind his teeth and fidget a lot – tell-tale signs of sleep deprivation.’

Aaron was born 14 weeks premature and had to be woken every hour in hospital for a feed. He was allowed home at the age of four months, but the sleepless nights continued.

By the age of one he was surviving on around four hours of sleep a night and would catnap during the day.  ‘I would be in tears I was that tired,’ said Miss Battersby.  ‘It was so hard. My only respite was once every three weeks or so he would be so exhausted that he would manage a full night.’

Mrs Dawson said: ‘I’m so pleased Aaron is now sleeping through the night. It’s wonderful to hear success stories and how the charity has improved parents’ lives.’

It is not known exactly why the banana has helped Aaron, but Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD, author of Set Free to Live Free, said: ‘Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which help to relax overstressed muscles.

‘They also contain tryptophan, which convert to serotonin and melatonin, the brain’s key calming hormones.’

Experts said that as well as bananas, other slow-releasing energy foods such as wholemeal bread and peanut butter can help with restless nights.


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