Your Child and a Substance More Addictive than Cocaine: Should You Be Concerned?
by Dr. Marc Funderlich
One of the most confusing statements I hear from parents is “I don’t want my child to be deprived if I keep them from eating substances more addictive than cocaine.” Now they don’t actually say “more addictive than cocaine.” They usually replace that phrase with “cake” or “cookies.”
I know – and you know – that parents generally want “the best” for their children. The best schools, the best toys, the best life partner, etc. What about the best nutrition? I think we can all agree that nutrition is important and we want our kids to grow up to reach their full potential. And yet many parents tell me they are doing “Whole 30” or trying paleo or keto, but then they say “it’s just so hard to cook two meals every night.”. My question is always why cook two meals? Why should your children eat toxic, fake chemicals pretending to be food while you eat real food? You would never feed your child a yoga mat (although in some cases it may be more nutritious than what they are eating), so why feed them polyethylene glycol, carrageenan, partially hydrogenated oils, sucrose, yellow dye number 5 and other chemicals that are not food? The usual answer I get back: “Because they like it.”
Of course they like it. They’ve been fed a steady diet of sugar and it’s incredibly addictive.
One thing to keep in mind is that sugar alters how the brain works. It is in fact more addictive than cocaine, and when you mix addictive, neurologically-altering substances with a child’s immature brain, you can expect non-optimal brain development. You can also expect addictive behaviors (i.e. “because they like it”). Typically, you should also expect bad behavior as you try to change a child’s diet. Often, withdrawal symptoms include tantrums, screaming, crying, etc.
The good news is that these behavior issues only last 1-2 weeks. After this time, the brain recovers and rewires. From this point on children’s taste preferences may open up, they may want to try all sorts of new foods they disliked before, and their development will significantly benefit from your tough, yet loving dietary directives. The food habits they learn as kids carve out a blueprint of their future health.
If you want to see how your child is responding to toxic chemicals, foods or additives, we can run specific and advanced laboratory testing to find out how these things may be impacting your child. Call the office to learn more.