3 Year Old Craving Sugar? Diabetes?

Updated on September 22, 2009
T.B. asks from Eau Claire, WI
12 answers

I have a 3 year old who for the last couple days has started having accidents after being dry for almost 6 months. Also, he has been craving sugar like crazy! He throws a fit most days when we won't give him soda, chocolate milk, tea, etc.

I've called his doctor and he has an appointment on Friday, but I'm wondering if any one has a child with diabetes and what the symptoms were. (His dad and paternal grandmother are type 2 diabetic so it does run in the family.)

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So What Happened?

The doctor was very concerned about what was going on and had us come in this morning. They did a urine test to rule out a UTI for the accidents and blood work for the diabetes. His sugars were normal at 88. So all is good. :)

More Answers



answers from St. Cloud on

Hi Terri. Your son most likely doesn't have diabetes. If he DID have diabetes he would be so thirsty that he would welcome water and not insist on sugary drinks.
Craving sugar is a sure sign of a strong will or a sugar addiction! Most likely the accidents are from sugar overload.
And I do want to add, that kids are developing Type 2 diabetes at younger and younger ages. There are 3 year olds with Type 2 and since you have a history of it in your family I would eliminate ALL excess sugar from his diet.
My daughter has Type 1 diabetes.This type is NOT caused by excess sugar intake, but let me tell you! It's the hardest thing I have ever experienced. If I would have had an opportunity to prevent it, I would have!
I know it's hard to deny sweets, especially if they REALLY want them, but you will be building a foundation to GREAT health if you eliminate sugars.
Stay away from fake sugars like Splenda. Safe sweeteners include stevia and xylitol but xylitol does cause a laxitive effect in large quantities.
There are several drink mixes made with stevia that have zero effect on the blood sugar. One brand is made by Celestial Seasonings and you can get it in the same aisle as crystal lite. They come in pouches that you add to a bottle of water. It's a WONDERFUL alternative to a sugar drink!
Good job mom for seeing that something needs to be done for your child's health! Stand strong and say no to sugar! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on


First of all, if your child were diagnosed with diabetes, it would be type 1 - which has not been proven to be hereditary. It would not be treatable with a pill or diet, it would require insulin shots.

Symptoms can include: frequent urination (often bed wetting), constant hunger because they aren't getting any of the energy from the food they consume, unexpected weight loss, loss of energy/fatigue. These are usually the tip offs. One easy way to check if you are concerned is to check your child's blood sugar with a glucose monitor. If you know a diabetic, they have access to one. You'll want to check the blood in the morning after the child hasn't eaten for a number of hours. If the reading is under 120 - your child is fine.

My son was diagnosed 7 years ago. Sugar cravings aren't necessarily a sign, but definitely check with your doctor because it could be some other imbalance.




answers from Duluth on

i wonder - does he/has he had ear infections?

any type of yeast infection would make a kid crave sugar, and some ear infections are caused by yeasts. so ask your doctor about that. i dont know much exactly about them, but mention that you heard that yeast infections in children can cause sugar cravings.... see what he says.

and remember if you dont get a satisfactory answer from your doctor, never hesitate to get a second opinion.



answers from Dubuque on

Craving sugar is not necessarily a sign of diabetes. I think that is something kids just really want, once they get the taste of it. Excessive thirst, frequent urination, tiredness are some of the usual signs. I have a post on my blog about diabetes signs - www.LindaLongden.com - scroll down to near the bottom for the post.

Nutritionally, a 3 year old really should not have soda. That will make him crave more sugar.

L. L
Certified Nutrition Consultant



answers from Fargo on

My oldest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes this spring. She did not have any cravings for sugar, rather it was excessive thirst. See additional comments below.

I hope that your appointment goes well.

Jeff Hitchcock, founder of Childerenwithdiabetes.com has this post for parents who are unsure about their own child:

If you are a parent and you think your child has diabetes, take your child to your doctor and have them check for diabetes. The tests for diabetes are very simple and definitive.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
excessive thirst
excessive urination
excessive hunger
weight loss
blurred vision
high blood sugar level
sugar and ketones in the urine
Kussmaul breathing (rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who have ketoacidosis or who are in a diabetic coma)
vaginal yeast infections in girls (even infants and toddlers)
bed wetting, especially when the child was not wetting previously
A simple blood glucose or urine glucose test is used to check for diabetes.



answers from Minneapolis on

I wouldn't worry too much about the craving for sugar. It's sugar after all. Now it doesn't hurt to have a doctor take a look. Sugar is good! So can you blame him for wanting it! It is your job to give in moderation. There is absolutely no way a 3 year old should win in a battle over nutrition. And in regards to what you are feeding him. All three of what you have put down for drinks (soda, choc, milk and tea) Those are things my 4 year old and 2 year old have never had Unless a friend has giving it to them. There is just no reason for a child this young to have that type of drinks. Especially pop. My kids wont be getting pop for many more years!

As far as the dry spells being gone he is only three they are going to have periods of time when they are focusing on something else and they will lax in other areas. Is he working hard on another area of learning like speech, reading...?

I know you have older children which makes it harder to not give the more "adult" drinks but he is only 3 after all. Let him throw his fit for a while and he will get over it. It's not an easy task making them follow the rules but motherhood is not easy!! It does however sound like you should be focusing on your three kids nutrition closely if there is a heavy health issue like diabetes in the family!



answers from Dallas on

Sometimes children start having "accidents" again on purpose because it is attention getting behavior, I would especially bet on it considering that you have other children. The sugar is probably unrelated, its difficult to make them forget the sugary stuff since it has been introduced, my daughter would eat ice cream for every meal of the day if I let her! All I am saying is once they discover it, we all know how good it can be, why would they want something healthy?

Anyway-- just introducing an idea or two. See what the doctor says. Hope he isn't diabetic, its a devistating disease.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi Terri! I didn't get a chance to read the other posts, but my daughter was just diagnosed w/Type 1 Diabetes on 9/1/09, and her symptoms were always thirsty, always going to the bathroom, wetting the bed (hasn't done that in a long time), and she lost weight. So I'm assuming the sugar craving isn't a sign of diabetes, but I'm not a dr either, we brought my daughter in just for her 7 year well visit, and told the dr about these symptoms, and they gave her a urine test just to see if there was sugar there, and there was...so if you are wondering, you can ask for a urine test. Have a great day!



answers from Minneapolis on

Sugar is addicting like many other things in life. That could be his problem.

I wouldn't sweat it til your at the doctor in a few days.



answers from Davenport on

Craving sugar is not a sign/symptom of diabetes. He is probably just getting in the habit of wanting it. However, increasing sugar and caffiene intake can cause increase in accidents. Type 2 diabetes is very rare in a 3 year old. If he had diabetes it would probably be Type 1 and signs would include, increase thrist, increase urination, tired all the time, weight loss. I would recommend decreasing the sugar and eliminating the caffiene! If type 2 runs in the family, now is the time to instill good eating habits so he doesn't get it in the future.



answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, you are thinking along the right lines. However your child may not have progressed so far along to test positive for diabetes. Your best resources are naturopaths, doctors who work with natural systems and especially with nutrition. Good for you to be concerned, as sugar cravings indicate the gut may be populated with yeast or other infections that are causing the craving; to feed the yeast or other bad guys. Although your doctor did well in testing to rule out the advanced disease of diabetes, generally doctors are not trained in nutrition and how gut inflammation can cause problems from ADHD to much more challenging neural and learning problems.



answers from Minneapolis on


Hi, my name is T.. I'm a mother of three, 16, 11 and 7 and I'm a nurse and therapeutic lifestyle educator. I'll start with the common symptoms of Type II diabetes to ease your mind:
An increase in thirst
Weight loss
Frequest Urination
Excessive hunger

Now that can sound like any of us at any given time, especialy a two year old so let's talk about other options too since you are bringing him in to the doctor to get his blood sugar level checked this week.

First of all, just because Type II diabetes runs in your family doesn't mean anyone else in your family has to get it. Type II diabetes can be due to overweight, insulin resistance, poor diet and metabolic syndrome. ALL of those things can be avoided, and resolved, with proper diet and exercise.

Now lets talk diet. Sugar is like a drug and once those little tastebuds get a hold of it they want more, you've already seen this in your son. What you may also be dealing with here may be a food sensitivity. Sensitivities won't show up on an allergy test, they are sensitivities and greatly impact behavior, sleep and other daily habits, including bathroom habits.

I see families with kids just like yours in my practice all the time. Food, sugar in particular, imapacts behavior, brain function, bodily functions and more. If you'd like some help in formulating a plan for him, please feel free to reach out to me. This could be an indicator of other health issues that if caught early can be prevented or minimized.

T. Wagner, L.P.N.
Therapeutic Lifestyle Educator
Just One Bite, Inc.

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