Is Low Carb Diet Okay for Children

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kids eating healthyI have recently read an article about more than ten million Americans who are currently on a low-carbohydrate diet. This kind of diet involves consuming low carb vegetables and fruits to promote weight loss. But one of the things that caught my attention is that the article mentioned that while it may be okay for adults to be on this kind of diet, children shouldn’t be even if they are overweight. Low carb diet can be unhealthy for growing children and it can take a toll in their overall physical and mental development.

As a parent, I am very conscious about what I feed my children. In as much as I don’t like them to become overweight or obese, I also don’t like to sacrifice their normal growth by not giving them enough nutrition that they need. According to Joan Carter, RD, who is one of the researchers at Children’s Nutrition Research Center, a growing child needs calcium, vitamins and minerals for healthy growth and development. And these can only be sourced in grains, fruits and vegetables. Any shortage on these things can badly affect their overall health.

One of the negative impacts of low carb diet on adults and children is in their mental ability. According to Bruce Rengers, Ph.D. who works as an assistant professor at the Saint Louis University under nutrition and dietetics department, when normal intake of carbohydrate is reduced, the body gets its energy from ketones which are a by-product of fat breakdown. And ketones are known to cause dullness on the brain, affecting alertness, focus and concentration.

If parents subject their overweight children to a low carb diet just to lose weight, it is certainly not a good idea. The negative effects of this kind of diet outweigh the weight loss benefits especially that there are other ways on how children can lose weight. And parents should focus more on these alternative ways rather than sacrificing the overall health of a child for the sake of achieving the ideal weight.

One effective way of letting your child lose weight without cutting on healthy carbohydrate is to avoid processed foods or drinks that are high in bad carbohydrates and low in nutritional value. These include chips, soda or soft drinks, French fries, white bread, white sugar, candies, and other foods that are high in calories, fats and trans-fats. Additionally, you should encourage your children to play outdoors rather than to watch TV all day or play on their tablet. Physical activities such as playing outdoors and exercising can help your child become physical and mentally active. And it could help him lose weight faster.

As parents, we should be more cautious about the health of our children. Just because something is okay for adults does not automatically mean that it is also fine for children. This includes low carb dieting which may be okay for adult people but can significantly impact the health of children. And even if you are already an adult, it is still important to seek your doctor’s advice first before starting on a special diet plan.