GROWING KIDS – There may seem to be a wealth of information out there in the world of food and nutrition. However, it appears that much of that information can be misleading, incorrect, outright stupid or flat out lies.
To help you avoid misleading information here’s a rundown of some diet, nutrition, and food myths, and the explanations that disprove them.
1. Missing meals can help your plump children lose weight.
Research shows that missing meals – breakfast is the most skipped meal – can actually lead to increased food consumption at the next meal. The result can be weight gain, not weight loss. And when a meal is missed, a child’s body makes up for lost energy by conserving what have already been eaten and this slows down the metabolism.
2. Eating fat makes your children fat.
There is only one thing that makes kids fat – by eating more calories than their body requires. That’s it. Calorie needs of children of the same size, age, and sex, vary. Until the age of 10, children don’t have great differences in calorie needs. Those between the ages of four and six need 1,300 to 1,800 calories per day.
3. Fat is unhealthy – kids’ diets should be fat-free.
There are two types of fats that your children should be eating – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, also known as the “healthy fats,” or the essential fatty acids. They are needed to carry fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K in the body. Essential fatty acids, found in plant and fish oils, are needed by every cell membrane in the body to help make them watertight and are vital for the functioning of body and brain.
4. Strenuous physical activity or exercise makes kids eat more.
Studies show that after 20 minutes of exercise, people ate no more than those who done nothing. The only difference: those who had exercise thought the food tasted better. Why? the sense of taste is linked to the brain, and there’s more than taste buds getting honed in physical activity. Recent research suggest that exercise can be successfully used to treat depression. Conversely, people who live inactive lifestyles are twice as likely to become depressed.
5. Sugar causes diabetes
Consumption of sugars and carbohydrates does not cause either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce the hormone insulin, which is required by the body for energy utilization by muscles and other cells. Type 2 diabetes results when the body is unable to respond properly to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Children and individuals who are overyweight or obese may be more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetics need to be especially careful about the carbohydrates that they consume, usually by counting grams of carbohydrates, but sugars are not “off limits” even for people with diabetes. Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity for people with diabetes and everyone else, too.
6. Children grow out of being fat.
Measuring overweight and obesity in children aged 5 to 14 years remains a challenge – there isn’t a standard definition of childhood obesity applied worldwide. It can be tough to know when you should be concerned about your children’s size. Consulting a pediatrician is always advised.
7. Drink 8 glasses of water (eight-ounces per glass) per day.
Water lost through breathing, excretion, and sweating each day needs to be replaced – but that doesnt necessarily total 64 ounces of water. Its hard to measure the exact amount of water your children take daily in food and drink, but if their urine is clear or pale yellow, the water intake is enough. If it’s a darker yellow, drink more H20.
8. Eating late at night is bad because the food will turn straight into fat.
The human body knows one thing: total calories. Take more calories than it needs, it will store those extra calories as body fat.
9. Canned or processed foods have no nutrients.
Some canned foods are much lower in nutrients than fresh or frozen produce; the heat process of canning reduces nutrient content. But canned food can also contain some nutrients – canned tomatoes are high in lycopene (heat processing increases the amount of this antioxidants in tomatoes), canned salmon and sardines are very good source of calcium.
Choose canned foods that are low in salt and sugar. Still, nothing beats fresh food when it comes to nutrient content, so try to limit your kids’ intake of processed food as much as possible.
10. Non-organic food is as nutritious as organic food.
The debate is still simmering but it looks like the nutrient levels – and flavor – in organic food are coming up higher. Agriculture has become more intensive over the years that it has slowly depeted the nutrients in soils that feed both crops and livestock.
Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids are higher in organic milk, and organic vegetables have higher levels of Vitamin C and some other antioxidant nutrients called polyphenols. And yes, free range chickens and grass fed cows yield better tasting meats , than their grain fattened, growth hormone boosted counterparts.