|Wednesday, July 14th 2004|
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Kids are growing and they need a well-balanced diet. Getting them on the no-carb craze can not only rob them of much needed nutrition, it can also set the stage for possible eating disorders.
A few months ago, Ginger Schlanger swore off carbs. "Well, you can only eat protein, you can't eat any fruit or sugars or bread," she explained.
She didn't put her eight-year-old son Jake on the low-carb diet, but he did notice something missing from his plate. "I remember the dinner change and I was like, 'Mom, why are we having this?'" he recalled.
Low-carb eating has become a way of life for millions of adults, but are these diets safe for kids? "We don't know how this is going to affect children," said registered dietician Page Love. "We barely know how this is affecting adults."
She says what nutritionists do know is that kids need carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet. It's fuel for their growing bodies and minds. Depriving them, according to Love, "can set a whole stage of events for them to have cravings, to have low energy in school, to have trouble concentrating, to really be feeling fatigued and start to have cravings for simple sugars and probably less healthy foods."
Love says parents should limit sugar and simple carbs like cookies and chips and soda, and instead look for healthier options. "Look for higher-fiber options, so maybe a brown rice, maybe a sweet potato, maybe wheat pasta, a multi-grain bread."
Ginger is no longer on her low-carb diet, but she's still concerned about what her family eats, especially Jake. "I do sometimes talk to Jake about healthy eating and I want to make sure that I'm balanced about that," she said. "That I'm not making him crazed or obsessive about that. I just try to give him a balance of all the foods. That's really all I concentrate on."
Again, experts stress the importance of getting children focused on balanced, healthy eating.
Carbohydrates per Serving : 6.22 - Carbohydrates per Serving minus Fiber: 4.54
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