The mythical nature of a child’s diet

About the Author

author photo

Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

See All Posts by This Author

The mythical nature of a child’s diet

I spent the weekend with fifth and sith grade students on a confirmation retreat. I enjoyed our time together, and we had many good conversations about life and faith. One of the conversations, however, was unexpected and revealed a great deal about the way that our children are learning about nutrition. We were at the dinner table talking about desert, and one of the girls mentioned that, as long as you had a healthy desert, you could have it at every meal. So I asked for examples of a healthy desert. I got answers from all over the table.

“Fat free ice cream,” and “Sugar free sodas,” and “Low carb brownies”were all menu items on the “healthy dessert” lineup. What I noticed was that these thigs were all considered healthy based on what they didn’t have, rather than what they did. There were no fruits mentioned. Nothing, actually, was mentioned based on the nutritional value of the food.

We are imparting a dangerous food paradigm to our children. We assume that fat-free means less calories and more healthy. That is just not true in many cases. Here is a quote from the Weight-control Information Network, which “provides the general public, health professionals, the media, and Congress with up-to-date, science-based information on weight control, obesity, physical activity, and related nutritional issues.”:

Myth: Low-fat or fat-free means no calories.

Fact: A low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories.

The carb-free diet is also a potentially disastrous learning ground for our children. Children are active, energetic and growing. and they need the building blocks of a healthy body to engage that growth and energy Those building blocks are found in carbs, starches, and protiens. Again, the Weight-control Information Network:

Myth: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are a healthy way to lose weight.

Fact: The long-term health effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet are unknown. But getting most of your daily calories from high-protein foods like meat, eggs, and cheese is not a balanced eating plan. You may be eating too much fat and cholesterol, which may raise heart disease risk. You may be eating too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which may lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber. Following a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, and weak.

Eating fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrate a day can lead to the buildup of ketones (partially broken-down fats) in your blood. A buildup of ketones in your blood (called ketosis) can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for gout (a painful swelling of the joints) and kidney stones. Ketosis may be especially risky for pregnant women and people with diabetes or kidney disease.

Myth: Starches are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight.

Fact: Many foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body.

There is a wealth of information on the Weight-control Information Network website about healthy tips for a healthy lifestyle. Many food and cooking classes will cover health and nutrition in a constructive way, and the things that our kids are learning in school tend to focus on what foods provide rather than what we need to remove in order to make them more “healthy.” Our job, as parents and grandparents, is to give them a stable role model for eating responsibly and enforce the things that they are learning with healthy experiences at home.

Nutrition is no longer a passive subject. In an age where the cartoon network has an enormous impact on the foods that kids desire, which tend to be purple and filled with something, we, as adults, have a responsibility to engage our children in conversations about what they eat and to give them options at the table that will help them learn about eating right.

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. Hello been surfing the net for high fiber diet and found your blog reg hical nature of a child’s diet | the fireside. You relly know your stuff! I\’d like to see more posts here. Will definitely bookmark this one and come back.

  2. Only your body and health will suffer for this so beware.
    I am now in the pre-maintenance phase of the Atkins diet, and have gone
    down 3 dress sizes during the course of the year. This diet is based on
    “good” carbs such as whole grains versus white refined bread, pasta and rice.

    If you are a laid-back, free-spirited individual, then a diet plan that allows you
    to choose what time you eat and how much you consume in
    a day is good for you. Are you willing to risk your health for the chance of fitting into those smaller jeans next month
    for your friend’s patio party. Yes, because it does give you some sort of workout.
    ‘ Healthy proteins like eggs, lean meat, soybean, pulses, legumes and paneer are important to regenerate new body cells
    and maintain muscle mass in your body. The Men’s Health Workout app gives you high quality photos,
    and advanced logging features, making it easy to manage your workouts.
    After analyzing the dietary pattern most successful
    individuals were following, I created the “my SOS diet” plan.
    Over the course of each day and over the course of several
    days, your diet will cycle through highs and lows of caloric intake that comprise
    each of the various different types of calories.
    Commercial liquids include the protein shakes made from protein mix, special weight loss drinks, etc.
    Make sure lunch and dinner are full of fiber rich food which can help you in losing weight and at the same time
    satisfy your hunger. Another diet, called the cabbage
    soup diet may be repetitive, but really cheap. Most of
    the foods marketed by manufacturers as “healthy” aren’t wholesome at all.

    If you cannot find an on campus job and still need to work,
    it is essential that you tell your employer that
    school is your highest priority.

Post a Response