I ask this question because I see reports of what paleo peeps tend to feed their children.
I see the odd sweet potato thrown in but even with sweet potato at every meal and moderate fruit, the diet would be less than 100g carbs a day.
Do you think this is a good idea? Just going from gut feeling (heh) rather than extensive research on the subject I'm going to say no. Kids need lots of calories and starch with added fat is a good way of achieving this.
Most of us would be aghast at the idea of feeding a child a low fat diet, so I think equally a low carb one might not be the best idea.
Kids tend to have very good carb tolerance and usually this means ketosis comes a lot easier. Long term ketosis for children just seems like a bad idea.
I have no children myself and cycle my carb intake (though anything above 40% seems to trigger BG issues in me) so feel free to ignore my ramblings, but does anyone else feel concerned about this?
No, I don't think low-carb is optimal for children. And yes, it seems a lot of people round here feed their kids (and babies and toddlers - despite the fact that breast milk is mostly carbohydrate) this way, and it does make me raise an eyebrow. I really want kids and plan to raise them 'paleo', but they will be eating plenty of carbs from whole foods.
I can't help but compare a child's metabolism to my own (I do look like I'm 12!) - I'm very thin, lean, active, and need to eat prodigious amounts of calories to fuel my normal metabolism, much less put some meat on my bones. I do not feel well in ketosis, at all. While ketosis is highly useful for fat loss and for managing some health conditions, I consider it to fundamentally be a strain on the body. A growing child can only benefit from easily accessible, adequate glucose IMO.
I'm also determined not to be the food police - my mom was and it was terrible. I'm not going to buy junk, but they can eat junk at other people's houses and participate fully in Halloween and birthday parties. Hopefully they will realize, as I did, that eating crappy food makes them feel crappy, and thus be motivated to keep eating the way we did at home as they gain independence.
I think the safest approach is to give them plenty of fruit and starchy tubers (obviously alongside meat and organs) and then get them to play outside as much as possible. Play outside with them, go on long walks etc. There's simply no way that a rapidly growing, active kid is going to get fat from eating healthy carbohydrates.
I'm sure I'm not the only one here who shudders when they think about the amount of crap they ate as a kid while remaining inexplicably lean. I spent the vast majority of my time outside (causing trouble of one sort or another, truth be told).
My biggest concern would be in putting glucose restrictions on a growing brain. I can't fathom how that would turn out well.
With two young boys (5 and 21 months) it is my experience that they are capable of making energy from their food like IMMEDIATELY after eating. They dance and jump around constantly. With such high energy output there is not way I could justify giving my kids a low carb diet.
Neither of my kids eat potato, and I try not to do the bread/noodles type stuff (but I do give them rice noodles). Instead my boys really like to eat lots of fruit with their meals.
I guess if my kids had brain issues like epilepsy then I would consider a therapeutic diet like a ketogenic one.
a low carb diet provides plenty of energy and calories as long as you are eating enough, especially important is eating sufficient calories from animal fat. ketosis - or fat burning metabolism - is preferable over glucose burning metabolism when it comes to preventing disease, why would that not be optimal for kids?
I think that the answer is "depends on the child" -- just like adults, kids have different metabolisms and different energy needs. I think that feeding kids in paleo style (starting with breast-feeding until the child self-weans, then moving to plenty of locally-produced, grass-fed or forage-fed meats, leafy and colorful vegetables, roots, nuts, seeds, berries, fruits, etc.) is really healthy for them -- however I think that it is important to keep plenty of foods available for kids to eat as their hunger demands -- and to accept that, when they're outside the house, they're probably going to try other things that their friends are eating, just because that's what kids do.
I also think that it's important not to have -food- become a battle zone. There are so many other issues that we need to stay on top of as parents... I know there were with the four that I raised... and I think that if we raise our kids with the right foods, and the reasoning behind them, our kids will never have to worry about whether they're "high carb", "low fat", "high protein", "low carb" or whatever label -- they'll be fine choosing whole foods, preparing them in healthy ways, and enjoying the opportunity to nourish their bodies -- and they'll have the resilience to handle the occasional foray into less-than- healthy foods without it sending their bodies completely off-track as it does for so many of us who have been eating in ways that are unsustainable for us for large portions of our lives.
No. Neither should Mom's to be.
I'm sure my negs will spike for saying this, but it needs to be said.
The whole starvation in childhood --> adult obesity and/or diabetes? Very real. Why? Well we can test this in animals and it all flows. Calorie, protein, carb restriction in developing years leads to depressed basal energy expenditure and an apparent lack of development of appropriate protective fat stores.
Carb restriction metabolically is the same as starvation. I'll be more than happy to provide cites for that proclamation as time permits.
Mommas eat starch ... I beg you!
I'd like to note that I think where they get their carbs from is something to talk about. Our dentist went over some of this stuff with us. Breads/crackers/pretzels, etc are really bad for your teeth. Because they tend to stick more, causing decay. When my 4 year old was diagnosed with 6!!! cavities.. we had to overhaul her diet. A diet, I might add, that already did NOT include regular candy, sweets, juice, etc and NO soda whatsoever. We were told to cut WAY back on those processed refined grains.
So while we do still have those things for them occasionally, they get the majority of their carbs from veggies and fruits. Definitely MORE than 100 grams a day though.
Since we cut way back on that stuff, she's had no more cavities AND my younger daughter has had NONE at all. Not a huge argument for or against the low-carb for kids thing.. but definitely something to think about.
Can we define 'low-carb' in this thread? I am really surprised to see everyone say "ooooooh kids eating the way we eat is bad!" Are you all assuming that these children are only eating meat? How many carbs are you assuming are safe? Did I correctly read an answer that said children should be eating rice and Corn? Am I in the right place?
If you claim that eating 'paleo' was the way that our ancestors ate, how will you account for what our ancestor's children ate? I plan for my children to eat what my husband and I eat- lots of meat, lots of vegetables (including more starchy veg like squash) and fruit in small increments. Will my kids be in ketosis? No, but then again, I'm usually not to begin with. If my own parents fed me this way, I'm sure I would have grown up without the allergies, joint pain, and fluctuating weight that I experienced through late childhood and early adolescence.
If they aren't metabolically screwed up yet, give them what they crave most from healthy fare. If they are fat, then you should get the carbs in the range that they actually use for energy and stop before it becomes excessive and used for fat storage. I think if you look at most SAD kids nowadays they must be getting like 2000 calories from carbs alone. If your kids are paleo and want some sweet potatoes or rice... its not really the same as having 70+% of the meal be carbs and then having it with a sugary drink and 99% carb snacks in between.
Dr. Lutz has a photo of an overweight adolescent boy who was not reaching puberty milestones. In a second photo after 2 years low carb, he lost the weight, reached puberty, and developed muscle tone. (See his book: Life Without Bread)
Kids are picky eaters. Their weight must be monitored. They are exposed to school lunches (a joke) and class movie days, parties, etc. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Carb addiction is real and begins in childhood. Parents have to decide what is an acceptable balance.
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