Would You Give Your Kids a Case of Whiskey?

No, you wouldn’t, would you?

And yet many out there either well into paleo eating or at least knowledgeable about it still allow their kids to consume all sorts of sweets, especially on October 31 and well into the next week. For some, the sheer volume of candy is astounding. We’re talking pounds of it.

I refuse to give kids candy or sweet drinks; any time, any place, any circumstance. And less important is that actual specific piece of candy or soda pop, but what it conditions them to want to eat in the years to come. I did set out a bowl of treats on Halloween, but it was small packages of 86% cacao dark chocolate. That’s as far as I’ll ever go.

Fatty liver disease is rampant in children (lots more here), and unless caused by some genetic defect, the cause is plain and simple: sugar and specifically, fructose, which constitutes 50-60% of the sugar in candy, cookies, cakes and sweet drinks.

…a University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine-led team studied 742 autopsy reports and tissue analysis of San Diego County children aged two to 19 who died from traumatic accidents, homicide or suicide and had a medical examiner autopsy between 1993 and 2003.

The study, published in the October issue of Pediatrics, found that fatty liver was present in 13% of the children and adolescents whose records were studied.

Fructose is metabolized in the liver just like alcohol, so, giving them a piece of candy, in terms of the liver, is really not much different than giving them a shot of whiskey. It astounds me that parents, grandparents and so many others are so irresponsible in this way. Look around, people. What do you see? And when you not only give candy to kids, but defend it and even get indignant at the thought of denying them, you are no better — far worse, actually — than someone who makes excuses for and enables destructive alcoholics and addicts.

I simply have zero tolerance for this.

Update: Reader Kathy writes in, saying:

I have been trying to convert my grown kids to the paleo lifestyle but didn’t realize how successful I had been until my son put up this video of my grandson.

He ordered his beef from U.S. Wellness Beef and gave him a piece of brisket to chew on.

I was diagnosed as Type II diabetic about a year ago and promptly did my own research and came upon the Drs. Eades, Jimmie Moore, you, Tom Naughton etc. and decided to try low carb. My husband I both lost 40 lbs and I am no longer diabetic.

Now go check out this video of a 6-month-old chewing on a nice piece of brisket.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Grok on November 3, 2009 at 09:52

    Great idea on the 86% cacao Richard. The good news is, it’s affordable to buy chocolate like that in bulk with smaller wrappings these days. I feel all those AOX hype studies really helped with the dark chocolate movement.

    And the good thing is… if there’s leftovers, you don’t have to feel too guilty about snacking on them.

    • Grok on November 3, 2009 at 09:56

      P.S. When commenting for your SU.PR links… the comments get eaten with a javascript or cookie error or something.

      Just thought I’d let you know. You may be losing a lot of comments from people who don’t want to re-type like I just had to (and have several other times also).

  2. jimmydddd on November 3, 2009 at 10:10

    I think we are indulging in self-deception with this 86% cacao stuff. I think you should just have a Hershey bar and psychologically own up to it. The same goes for “Cliff,” “Power,” “Atkins” and other health bars. Just eat a Snickers, enjoy it, and own up to it. :-)

    • Richard Nikoley on November 3, 2009 at 10:27

      Actually, Jimmy, it’s not the same sugar content at all, not even close. And that’s what’s important.

      But anyway, I rarely eat dark chocolate. In fact, I put some in a chicken mole dish the other night and realized I’d had it in the cupboard for two months since I’d bought it at the farmer’s market.

      So much for “self-deception.”

      • jimmydddd on November 4, 2009 at 09:47

        As always, thanks for your insight. A point well taken.
        Of course, you are right about the lower sugar content of dark chocolate, etc. I agree that each of us follows our own path (as per Art) and those that follow this site can probably make smart, educated choices and trade offs (as per Mark S.). I guess I was thinking more of all of those newbies , just starting out on the paleo path, who, after two days are already looking for “paleo-friendly” bread, pasta, beer and candy.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 4, 2009 at 10:04

  3. jimmydddd on November 3, 2009 at 10:15

    Separately, I absolutely agree that we should minimize sugar for the kids. Schools in my town no longer allow for sugary snacks for b-day parties, etc. The problem is with what to substitute. We just had an elementary school Halloween party with no candy, only pasta and pretzels. A step in the right direction I guess.

  4. mgood66 on November 3, 2009 at 10:18

    I think this speaks to the addictive nature, and the emotional connection people (even low-carber/paleo folk) have with food, carbs in particular.

    I have friends who don’t want to “deprive” their children of what they apparently consider one of the pleasures of life…sugar. They also seem to feel like the resilience of children will pull them through being treated like human garbage cans.

    My sister-in-law (who is morbidly obese) thinks that by baking cookies at home rather than buying them at the grocery store she’s doing her kids this big favor. They are most certainly more delicious, but when I explain that they are MARGINALLY healthier, and that the kids should just do without, or have them only very occasionally (not to mention no television or video games until the kids are 12….but that’s another topic) you’d think I’d just told the kids there was no Santa Claus.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 3, 2009 at 10:28

      I delight in telling kids (of any age) that there’s no Santa Clause. If the subject come up in earshot, I give not a damn about anyone’s sensibilities and I’ll shout it right out.

      I also love to tell kids there’s no god.

      Love it. Love how parents hate me for it, too.

      I’m such a heretic.

      • Bryce on November 3, 2009 at 10:51

        Remind me to only let my future children near you when you’re dispensing dark chocolate, and then only with earplugs in ;-)

      • Iso on November 3, 2009 at 13:18

        How pleasant.

        This comment is the last straw for me here. Little things like this have been bothering me for a while, but I have kept reading, but no more. I think I prefer to spend my page views elsewhere. I’m unsubscribing.

        Have fun irritating parents and hating Christianity.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 3, 2009 at 13:46

        “Everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart.”

      • Richard Nikoley on November 3, 2009 at 14:51

        Actually, this probably merits a more substantive reply, and perhaps not the more pithy, “Free the Animal: Hating Christianity for 20 years.”

        I don’t hate it, really, especially the cultural traditions. I enjoy xmas with the family and kids as much as anyone. I just think that taking it literally as so many do is probably as harmful to the mind as grains and refined sugar are to the body. I find it way odd that there are so many paleo/primal/evfit folks who still cling to this neolithic fairy tale as a literal truth.

        But to each his own.

        That said, there is nothing I’d abhor more than operating this place as someone other than myself.

        So, if the other information isn’t good or complete enough to make up for my demeanor as to _OTHER_ neolithic missteps beyond food, then that’s just the way it’ll have to be.

        It’s over a year since I went full time into paleo blogging and this counts as the first comment or email I’ve received explicitly unsubscribing. In that time, the blog has grown from 12k visits to now over 50k per month. So, while I really hate to see anyone go, I suppose it’s unavoidable and I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

      • Bryce on November 3, 2009 at 18:04

        I suppose I’ve become so jaded to people having a laugh at my beliefs that your comments don’t really bother me. I do think the information and wit that I receive and enjoy on your site do outweigh the occasional mild frustration I feel at certain comments.

        To go a step further, feeling any anger at your comments would, to me, be a sign that I’m not absolutely comfortable with what I believe. I wouldn’t get angry at someone who poked fun at the paleo diet, or who teased me for thinking that barefoot walking was healthier, for the same reasons. Getting angry would mean I felt the need to defend it with emotion because it didn’t stand up on it’s own. I feel that both my ancestral life way, and my beliefs, stand up to scrutiny well enough that they require no emotionally defensive response.

        Such comments are easy to shrug off for me because I’m confident in what I’ve come to believe, and so many of my friends are atheists that I tend to enjoy, more than disdain, the opportunity to discuss our differences and see how my beliefs stand up to the spot light of scientific scrutiny.

        Anyway, as you said – different strokes. Keep doing what you do, you snarky bastard, and I’ll keep coming back and reading.

        So no


      • Bryce on November 3, 2009 at 18:07

        I don’t know what the “so no so” was in my comment.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 3, 2009 at 18:38

        Divine intervention? :)

      • Richard Nikoley on November 3, 2009 at 18:38

        Thanks for that, Bryce. I usually try to avoid being too offensive about personal beliefs, now, but I do have my moments.

      • Bryan Rankin on November 4, 2009 at 13:20

        Richard: “I’m such a heretic.”

        Actually, the word that comes to my mind after some of your comments is ‘Dick’.

        I once suggested that you and Karen were cut from the same cloth. You both are not afraid to speak your mind and tell it like you see it, and do not suffer fools gladly. An admirable quality, in my mind. However she never seems to cross the line of civil behavior.

        Despite the fact that I sometimes feel you go overboard, the fact is you have a good product in this blog. But I have referred some folks I know to other places because I knew they would be turned off by your attitude.

        Now, for the comment I originally came to post…

      • Richard Nikoley on November 4, 2009 at 13:37

        Probably a good move, Bryan. This place is absolutely not for everyone and I’ve never tried to make it so. Sure, way more inclusive than before, but the Dick is still in the house….

      • Chaohinon on May 15, 2010 at 20:55

        With children (people, really, but especially children) it’s important to teach methodology, rather than conclusions. When you arm them with critical tools such as syllogistic reasoning and the scientific method, they’ll be able to shatter fallacies like God and the state all on their own.

        Tragically, most parents are brutish, toothless, lazy morons who would rather resort to yelling, beating, passive-aggression, and “I told you so”s. Hence the proliferation of irrational beliefs.

  5. troglodytemignon on November 3, 2009 at 15:31

    Cute vid! Now if everyone could get over the choking-baby fears…

    PS.: Updating on my kid-who-hates-meat:
    Implementing some of your suggestions Richard helped already… She has sampled some ground beef without spitting it out (with lots of garlic at that), and turns out her appetite for all foods has gone up, just by refusing to give in when she refuses the family meal…so, thanks!

    (Re: Iso…sometimes parents are the worst counselors for other parents!)

  6. CindyD on November 4, 2009 at 10:57

    Your post also applies to our pets. I’ve been eating Paleo for months now. I started on Atkins, but got discouraged because of the fake food. So I went Paleo and lost 20 pounds; now I weigh a nice 122 pounds.

    My dog, though, seems to just keep getting heavier. Well duh. He was still eating grain-filled kibble(not to mention filled with the horrible meat and bone meal from rendering plants. Look it up). I read some books and now he is on a raw, meaty bones and table scraps diet. Good table scraps, of course.

    He should slim down pretty quickly and have great teeth and gums in the process.

  7. Mark D on November 4, 2009 at 15:30


    Love your posts and enjoy your attitude to challenging any adult about their opinions and especially religious beliefs – As adults they should be able to take criticism. However telling children out of the blue that there is no Santa is just cruel. Give them time and they will realise the joke and enjoy it, much the same way that they will realise about the great sky fairy, but fucking with them when they are small just isn’t nice.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 4, 2009 at 15:39

      Mark D:

      Actually, that’s the first comment that made me think about it.

      For the record, the comment was totally tongue in cheek, but the response was just too delicious to come clean with it. I know, I’m totally weird.

      On the one hand, I’m delighted to allow kids their fantasies. They ought to feel safe, secure, important, a major cog in the universe. But, rather than slowly introduce them to real reality, what do we do? What we do is to usurp that innocence and cruelly use it to build mind-created fantasy on mind-created fantasy, such that they are eventually crippled — most of them.

      You and others that frequent this blog are outliers. Like me, you came to your senses and realized that you’re a product of bio-logic. And that has a number of implications, not all of them biological.

      Listen: I would stand in line to relish in the fantasy of children to imagin a Santa, a Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny, if we could eventually get down to reality.

      Let me wrap it up. I coined a name for Santa years and years ago — probably 15 or more: “God Lite.”

      Y’get it?

      • troglodytemignon on November 4, 2009 at 18:38

        I refrained from getting into this topic but the door’s open now…

        I’ve never believed in a Santa concept (poor uneducated immigrant parents and all – no real advantage in perpetuating consumer fantasies, right?) but some close friends did believe…
        and when their little 8-9 year old friends revealed the truth to them about Santa, well, the sensitive ones lost their INNOCENCE, you know? They revealed this to me, as if they discovered some long-lost very disturbing secret about their childhood.

        i just laugh at all this…Keep it up Richard…As we say in Montreal… Épate le bourgeois!

      • Ginastarke on March 31, 2010 at 15:13

        I don’t the candy thing at all anymore. I just give bubbles, crayons, other little doodads from the party supply store.

        1. No crap in the house to tempt me.
        2. We get so few trick or treaters ( I think the tradition is dying out) I can just shove the bag of leftover stuff until next year
        3.) the parents and kids seem to love it!

  8. k on March 31, 2010 at 15:47

    i dont see what the big deal is unless tehy’re already overweight and/or eating this stuff everyday then i see how it could be a problem, but i dont think eating suagr a few times a year is really bad for the kid

    • Richard Nikoley on March 31, 2010 at 16:51

      Sugar is pretty much poisonous, toxic and fat promoting.

      Sure, moderate amounts can be adequately metabolized but the reason kids are getting fat in astounding number and developping diabetes and fatty livers is presisely because they’re not consuming it only a few times per year.

      I just love the notion that if one witholds a fat-storage-inducing toxin from ignorant children they are being deprived.


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