Healthy Lower Carb Diets for Children
We were honoured to be asked to write an article for the Healthy Child magazine with Dr Ranj Singh, regarding low carb diets for children. Read what we had to say...
Over recent decades our children's diets are drawn towards eye popping, mouth-watering, stomach-satisfying snacks and meals. Unfortunately we are often unaware and unguided on how many carbs our well-deserved treats or supermarket meals are over providing. Before we continue let’s be clear, wholesome nutritious food including carbohydrates are important for the development of little bodies*. Today we’re talking about the overloading of non-nutritious fast sugar-spiking carbohydrates found in so many children’s meals throughout the day.
Yummy Packed Lunch ?
Take a lovely looking lunch box. Sandwich, vegetables, yoghurt, orange juice, grapes and a crispy treat. You could well be on your way to 170 grams of carbohydrates in one lunch and – pending age – that’s close to the daily recommended amount for a child’s entire daily consumption. Does the day also start with high carb toast or cereal, crisps after school and pizza, pasta or chips for dinner? It’s easy to see how unintentional carb loading can often occur.
But More Carbs Is More Energy, Right ?
Maybe if you’re a gym bunny or an athlete then carb loading has its place. All those carbohydrates are turned to sugar (glucose) for energy but the sudden spike means the child’s pancreas has to cope with a lot of sugar. A surplus of these sugars are also converted and stored as fat. Not ending there, the higher the original spike in blood sugars the stronger the next round of hunger pains will be, and so the cycle starts again. Whilst the short term damage impacts weight gain, obesity and mental health, the longer term risks include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and increased mortality.
Moving to a lower Carb Diet
There are many times when a strict low carb managed diet is medically important, from Type 1 Diabetes, GLUT 1 and children with drug resistant epilepsy, but luckily for the majority of families, moving to a lower carb diet can be a much easier and gradual journey. Something to share, experience and enjoy together. Discover the excellent resources on the internet designed for families interested in lower carb diets. Some common rules of thumb you’ll read again and again include; processed versions tend to be higher in carbs, above ground vegetables tend to have much lower carbs than their underground friends, and ask for advice - you are not alone. There are now over 2000 schools signed up to the charity Sugarwise, an amazing charity focusing on driving down sugar and unnecessary carbs in school meals. The NHS has their own Low Carb plans and over 40 specialised clinics, and at last you can now buy Tasty, Nutritious Convenient Low Carb food. Who knew a lower carb diet could be as easy as making a sandwich.