06/26 2015

A High Carb Diet for Your Kids?

 

Today is part II in a series about how we shape our children’s eating habits.

For years, we have been blaming our children’s expanding waistline on fast food restaurants, advertisements on TV, sugary beverages and increased screen time. And while all of these factors are indeed culprits, parents and caregivers have an integral role as well.

It’s learned at home

A study conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that poor eating habits linked to obesity are learned in children’s homes.[1] Specifically, children’s dietary patterns are fostered at an early age, ones that includes few fruits and vegetables, relying instead on high amounts of processed food and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Before we fault our kids for their poor eating habits, it’s important to take a look at our own.

Low Carb-Diets

Is a low-carb diet a healthy one? From the wealth of information I have read, the resounding answer is: It depends. How long are you on the diet? How many carbs are you eating? Are the carbs high quality? How much are you exercising? (Hint: If it’s a lot, an all-carb diet could be harmful).

High Protein Diets

Is a high-protein diet ideal? Again, it depends. A high protein diet could be beneficial depending on your current weight, the amounts of other macronutrients you’re consuming, how active you are, the quality of protein you’re eating. And on and on. I actually wrote a blog post about the Ideal Protein Diet a few years ago if you’re interested in knowing more about it.

High Carb Diets

Is a high carb diet good for you? I think you’ll be hard pressed to find medical literature that supports a high carb diet, unless you need to gain some weight. In fact, there is little argument that eating too many carbs leads to weight gain, increased insulin levels and high levels of fat storage.

So why feed your child so many carbs?

We know that that too much or too little of anything can be harmful for anyone. And we also know a high carb diet is likely going to lead to weight gain, and possibly an imbalance of nutrients a child needs to function properly. So why would you consider feeding him or her a high carb diet in the first place?

One. In a world filled with processed foods, fast foods and sugar, many of which are lower cost than the “healthy stuff,” it’s easy to do in this day and age. Two, kids like carbs. Three, carbs can be addictive, especially the low quality sugary variety.

What does your child’s diet look like?

It’s time to think twice if your child’s diet looks something like this:

Breakfast

–       Cereal, bagels, pop-tarts, donuts and pancakes

Lunch

–       Pizza, Mac and cheese, Lunchables (high in carbs and sugar)

Snacks

–       Chips, goldfish, crackers, gogurt (high in sugar)

Dinner

–       More pizza and mac and cheese, French fries, “noodles and butter”

Dessert

–       The list is endless

If you add sugary drinks and juice in the mix, you have got a little belly chocked full of carbs, and low quality carbs at that. Coupled with a lack of protein and other needed nutrients for proper growth and everyday functioning, your little rascals may peter out fast and come back with a desire for more of the same. For the rest of their childhood.

Related articles and interesting reading:

Low-carb diets

http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-carbs-per-day-to-lose-weight/

http://authoritynutrition.com/10-benefits-of-low-carb-ketogenic-diets/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20359381,00.html

Kids Eating Habits

http://www.parenting.com/article/get-your-kids-eat-everything

http://www.fitbie.com/slideshow/worst-snacks-pack-your-kid-s-lunchbox

Photo courtesy:

http://woman.thenest.com/percentages-carbohydrates-4012.html

 

 

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