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Old 05-03-2014, 08:50 AM   #1
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Nutritional Knowledge & Kids

Hi, All.

I've recently begun NK and am feeling good and seeing encouraging results. This WOE has also inspired my curiosity and I read a bit about low-carb living.

Like many of you, I was awed by Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" and it's caused me to experience a real paradigm shift in the way I think of food and nutrition.

So, now I look at the way I feed my children (and what I overtly teach them about nutrition) and I'm torn. And confused. Should I continue instilling the traditional ideas of the food pyramid, healthy whole grains, etc... Or, should I be teaching them what I now believe to be true?

My 5 year old is especially curious about my new way of eating. She asks a lot "Can you have xyz food on your diet?" I usually say, "Sure, just not too much." I've explained that I ate too many carbohydrates for a lot of years and, as a result, need to cut back now to be healthier. But, she still balks, "This is a pear and pears are healthy! Why can't you eat this healthy food on your diet?"

So, parents, what do you tell your kids about this WOE? What do you now teach them about nutrition?
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:36 AM   #2
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Abuvia this is such a great topic. I don't have little ones anymore, but I have two young granddaughters (almost 3 and 6) and I wonder the same thing.

My daughter has joined me (she's doing Atkins) but for her, I can tell it's mostly a means to an end...weight loss, though she is noticing a difference in health, so that helps. She's also having a hard time losing, which doesn't help thinking about this as a way of eating for the whole family. Her husband believes the calorie in, calorie out system and thinks were a bit nutty.

My dilemma is twofold, what to tell the girls about my WOE (when they ask) for instance....why I no longer eat bread, pasta, etc. and what to give them as special treats. I don't want to give them sugar anymore, but it seems wrong to give them artificial sugar. We do give them small treats with sugar, I must admit. My youngest GD is sooooo picky and wants to live off of Mac n cheese. And trust me, at 3 y.o. She's not going to fall for subbing it with cauliflower.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:01 AM   #3
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Grneyedldy, yes! Sugar! That's a big dilemma for me, too.

Prior to NK I made it a personal rule to never use sugar substitutes. I was skeptical of them; had a vague and unresarched idea that they could cause cancer. Frankly, I'm still unsure of them. Though, sugar alcohols strike me as somehow safer than, say, sucralose (again, unresearched.)

I've made peace with using a small amount of sugar alcohol myself. I reason it like this: sugar is proven to be harmful, sugar substitutes may be harmful. So, I'm trading a possible harm for a known one. I'm okay with that. Especially in extreme moderation.

But, I just can't bring myself to give sugar substitutes to my kids. My older daughter suffers from chronic ear infections, so I do mix a little xylitol into her tea when she's sick, but that's it.

I've also heard that there was a study showing that kids given sugar substitutes were more likely to become obese. Anyone know anything about that??

Last edited by abuvia; 05-03-2014 at 10:02 AM..
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:49 AM   #4
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This is a topic very near and dear to my heart. My daughter is 6 and I was deliberately LC when I was pregnant and have tried to keep her as low glycemic as possible. She is normal weight (but very solidly built) and has the sad burden of fat parents. Fortunately, she's primarily at my house where I have control. My credibility with her will skyrocket when she sees me at goal weight and her father still fat. But, she's already aware that we have different house rules - why does daddy always have cookies and you don't? Different rules, honey - I only get organic food and I let you stay up later and carry knives and scissors (point down of course), but she's aware that we have different rules. Honestly, organic is a pretty good excuse for saying no to a lot of processed food.

I know the mantra - never put a child on a diet, but I am consciously taking a different approach, talking honestly about healthy eating habits since my daughter has been very young. She has always gone grocery shopping with me, she picks out fruits and veggies - always organic, which is self-limiting. She knows to stop when she's full. She sees the neighbor's pre diabetic overweight 9 yo son will inhale bags of chips, bowls of popcorn and has already asked me if that's why he is fat. I said there are lots of reasons for weight gain and it's important to eat good food.

Rather than SAD food pyramid for my daughter, I opted for a Michael Pollen type of approach, keeping low glycemic foods as priority. I love his succinct statements:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (and I add animals - that food should only come from a plant or an animal and we frequently trace our food to its source)

Not sure how familiar you are with Pollan, but he's very quotable - see some quotes in goodreads site.

While NK has many benefits, I don't see it being easily executed for a child. I think many people can do quite well on low glycemic whole foods, balance and moderation. So, that's my start for my daughter. Her height and body weight are proportional - and if her weight spikes, I will subtly and nonchalantly reduce the carbs in the house.

Regarding me and my choices:

Why I don't eat bread and sweets - I'm fat. I'm trying to lose weight - I have no problem with her associating high carb foods with being fat. Once I hit goal, the message will be that starches make me gain weight and I do not want to be fat. Desserts have sugar, sugar makes me gain weight. She will gradually come to her own conclusions.

Her food choices/intake:

Whole foods, mostly organic, minimally processed, nutrient-dense
I break food down into: meat, dairy, veggies, fruit, starches - and that's how we both describe her plate
Milk - whole, full fat only
Occasionally a starch at a meal, no seconds
First priority: intuitive eating (I never offer seconds and positively acknowledge when she says she's done before finishing her plate, but I will encourage her to finish her meat)
There are so many LC foods that can be cooked for family - rather than pancakes we have Oizoid's Psyllium wraps, slightly tweaked. She's eating gluc pudding. I bake from the recipe section of this site with almond flour.
Sweeteners: I give a little bit of stevia or erythritol where applicable in a recipe, but if you're eating whole food, like an apple, there's no reason to sweeten it. I have no reason to add sugar to anything.
Rare treat is Zevia soda - she knows the mantra: "I know, mommy, sugar free"

Carbage: Yes on vacation, yes on certain holidays - and I use it to emphasize that it's an EXCEPTION, not the rule.

Some books I can recommend:

Michael Pollan - Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food - and for kids: Food Rules

Our project for the year:

12x4 raised bed garden and we will be eating primarily out of our garden and we have 8 fruit trees and she's already developing a preference for tree-fresh fruit.

Well, enough rambling - I think we should encourage LC foods and find the happy rhythm that works for each household. An apple is better than a candy bar - even if they have the same number of carbs.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abuvia View Post
I've also heard that there was a study showing that kids given sugar substitutes were more likely to become obese. Anyone know anything about that??
I don't know anything about this study in particular, but I am always skeptical of the diet product=more obesity connection. They aren't putting people in a clinic and feeding some AS and some not and watching what happens. They are asking people to report their behavior. Who uses AS? People that are trying to lose weight generally. Overweight people have AS products in the house. Overweight people have overweight children. Overweight children have access to AS products.

Even if I don't buy that connection, I still don't give kids AS.
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Old 05-03-2014, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abuvia View Post
Hi, All.

I've recently begun NK and am feeling good and seeing encouraging results. This WOE has also inspired my curiosity and I read a bit about low-carb living.

Like many of you, I was awed by Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" and it's caused me to experience a real paradigm shift in the way I think of food and nutrition.

So, now I look at the way I feed my children (and what I overtly teach them about nutrition) and I'm torn. And confused. Should I continue instilling the traditional ideas of the food pyramid, healthy whole grains, etc... Or, should I be teaching them what I now believe to be true?

My 5 year old is especially curious about my new way of eating. She asks a lot "Can you have xyz food on your diet?" I usually say, "Sure, just not too much." I've explained that I ate too many carbohydrates for a lot of years and, as a result, need to cut back now to be healthier. But, she still balks, "This is a pear and pears are healthy! Why can't you eat this healthy food on your diet?"

So, parents, what do you tell your kids about this WOE? What do you now teach them about nutrition?
Long before I ate low carb when my kids were small, I definitely kept their sugar intake low except for fresh fruit. I let them drink all the milk that they wanted and have all the fresh fruit that they wanted. We lived in Washington where fruit was inexpensive at that time. Milk was also inexpensive. My kids were all thin and very healthy. Kids can eat more healthy carbs than most adults can. I think talking about healthy foods to our kids is a very important topic. They certainly are not going to learn it in school. I wish that I knew what I know now. I don't think I would have had to have a hysterectomy because of fibroid tumors if I ate that low carb when I was in my 20's and 30's.
Carolyn

Last edited by lovetoknit; 05-03-2014 at 01:59 PM..
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GME View Post
I don't know anything about this study in particular, but I am always skeptical of the diet product=more obesity connection. They aren't putting people in a clinic and feeding some AS and some not and watching what happens. They are asking people to report their behavior. Who uses AS? People that are trying to lose weight generally. Overweight people have AS products in the house. Overweight people have overweight children. Overweight children have access to AS products.

Even if I don't buy that connection, I still don't give kids AS.


There is probably a correlation between AS and obese kids. I doubt there is a causation.

That said, I do think AS should be kept to a minimum to limit the physical sensitivity to sweetness for everyone, adults and children. I will not allow my daughter aspartame at all. Sucralose very rarely and preference is stevia and erythritol but only as baking ingredients. Is this the right solution? I don't know, but I'm comfortable with the information that I have available that these are not harmful (especially in limited quantities).
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:19 PM   #8
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Good topic.

I do not feed my children NK, but I have cut out foods that I believe we should never eat, Like whole grains, sugar, and wheat.

They still get it occasionally on holidays and at grandparents houses, although I wish I could keep them out of their diet there... especially sugar and wheat.

I also encourage eating more fat. I encourage them to eat as much as they want, and stop when they are satiated.

Basically I would describe their diet as paleo. I have noticed better behavior since cutting out all grains and sugar.

Last edited by EricaHV; 05-03-2014 at 04:20 PM..
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sbarr View Post
This is a topic very near and dear to my heart. My daughter is 6 and I was deliberately LC when I was pregnant and have tried to keep her as low glycemic as possible. She is normal weight (but very solidly built) and has the sad burden of fat parents. Fortunately, she's primarily at my house where I have control. My credibility with her will skyrocket when she sees me at goal weight and her father still fat. But, she's already aware that we have different house rules - why does daddy always have cookies and you don't? Different rules, honey - I only get organic food and I let you stay up later and carry knives and scissors (point down of course), but she's aware that we have different rules. Honestly, organic is a pretty good excuse for saying no to a lot of processed food.

I know the mantra - never put a child on a diet, but I am consciously taking a different approach, talking honestly about healthy eating habits since my daughter has been very young. She has always gone grocery shopping with me, she picks out fruits and veggies - always organic, which is self-limiting. She knows to stop when she's full. She sees the neighbor's pre diabetic overweight 9 yo son will inhale bags of chips, bowls of popcorn and has already asked me if that's why he is fat. I said there are lots of reasons for weight gain and it's important to eat good food.

Rather than SAD food pyramid for my daughter, I opted for a Michael Pollen type of approach, keeping low glycemic foods as priority. I love his succinct statements:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (and I add animals - that food should only come from a plant or an animal and we frequently trace our food to its source)

Not sure how familiar you are with Pollan, but he's very quotable - see some quotes in goodreads site.

While NK has many benefits, I don't see it being easily executed for a child. I think many people can do quite well on low glycemic whole foods, balance and moderation. So, that's my start for my daughter. Her height and body weight are proportional - and if her weight spikes, I will subtly and nonchalantly reduce the carbs in the house.

Regarding me and my choices:

Why I don't eat bread and sweets - I'm fat. I'm trying to lose weight - I have no problem with her associating high carb foods with being fat. Once I hit goal, the message will be that starches make me gain weight and I do not want to be fat. Desserts have sugar, sugar makes me gain weight. She will gradually come to her own conclusions.

Her food choices/intake:

Whole foods, mostly organic, minimally processed, nutrient-dense
I break food down into: meat, dairy, veggies, fruit, starches - and that's how we both describe her plate
Milk - whole, full fat only
Occasionally a starch at a meal, no seconds
First priority: intuitive eating (I never offer seconds and positively acknowledge when she says she's done before finishing her plate, but I will encourage her to finish her meat)
There are so many LC foods that can be cooked for family - rather than pancakes we have Oizoid's Psyllium wraps, slightly tweaked. She's eating gluc pudding. I bake from the recipe section of this site with almond flour.
Sweeteners: I give a little bit of stevia or erythritol where applicable in a recipe, but if you're eating whole food, like an apple, there's no reason to sweeten it. I have no reason to add sugar to anything.
Rare treat is Zevia soda - she knows the mantra: "I know, mommy, sugar free"

Carbage: Yes on vacation, yes on certain holidays - and I use it to emphasize that it's an EXCEPTION, not the rule.

Some books I can recommend:

Michael Pollan - Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food - and for kids: Food Rules

Our project for the year:

12x4 raised bed garden and we will be eating primarily out of our garden and we have 8 fruit trees and she's already developing a preference for tree-fresh fruit.

Well, enough rambling - I think we should encourage LC foods and find the happy rhythm that works for each household. An apple is better than a candy bar - even if they have the same number of carbs.

I like your approach. I also don't really feel like it is putting your child on a diet if you are just not feeding her food you believe is unhealthy. My daughter has a hard time sometimes with why I do not give her refined sugar and wheat. I have to tell her that I love her, and I can not give her those foods in good conscience because I think they are poison. That said, she does have treats on birthdays, etc.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:24 PM   #10
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I look at this way, if it's not good for me, it's not good for them. The fact that children can eat more carbs is only because there systems aren't damaged yet, IMO. A really good resource for information and recipes for kids is Maria Emmerich.

She uses swerve and xylitol. I think her reasoning is pretty sound for using them. Plus, her kids don't eat a lot of sweets, none of them do. But like she said, if other kids are having a cookie, her's aren't going to be happy with a carrot.

Sbarr, I think you're doing a great job. It is up to us to educate our kids. God forbid it takes them as long as it took us to figure this mess out. Plus, if we do educate the next generation, maybe, just maybe, we can turn things around.
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:14 PM   #11
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I think you are right about kids' systems not being damaged yet, but if they never overdo it on carbs (like I and probably many of us did) they won't be damaged and will be able to handle carbier, but real and natural foods. I don't think my problems came from the apples I ate as a child, but the Wonderbread and jelly sandwiches.

I believe a good diet is like steering a boat or saving for retirement, the earlier you start the less drastic you need to be.
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:34 PM   #12
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I think you are right about kids' systems not being damaged yet, but if they never overdo it on carbs (like I and probably many of us did) they won't be damaged and will be able to handle carbier, but real and natural foods. I don't think my problems came from the apples I ate as a child, but the Wonderbread and jelly sandwiches.

I believe a good diet is like steering a boat or saving for retirement, the earlier you start the less drastic you need to be.
I agree, natural whole foods I think are great, I don't think my issues started because I ate too much fruit.

There are some foods that I don't think are good for anyone (wheat, sugar, etc) so I avoid giving them to my kids, but I do not think they need to go all out in Nk, plus, since they are growing it is probably best for them to be eating some foods that stimulate growth (although I know some kids with epilepsy, etc. Do NK)
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:09 AM   #13
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My daughter is a teen now, and goes to boarding school. I started this WOE with her out of the house, so didn't have to explain much. She's always been normal weight but being away has gained at least 20 pounds. She hates the cooking at school, but there are sweets literally at every meal and snack, so she's become a disordered eater in my opinion, eating sweets instead of food, even though she knows better. :-(

I don't change my diet much when she's home and she can see the obvious physical, not to mention emotional changes in me-- I used to have mood swings, and I don't have low blood sugar crashes anymore either.

Anyway, she's coming home for the next 2 years of school, and really wants to do low carb with me. As she is fully grown, I'm not concerned about this woe for her, and I do wish I'd have adopted it earlier in her life, though it may not have made much difference in her current situation--it's just hard because I know she's suffering due to the weight gain, yet she's still eating junk.

I think a primal approach is pretty balanced, allowing for some fruit and dairy as well as occasional potatoes and rice. This is kind of where I'd like to end up, and I'm able to have these once in awhile without negative effects. I think sugar and wheat are the most obvious to cut out for everyone, but that sure makes social gatherings such as birthdays very hard.

I hope that 2 years at home will reset her nutritionally before she goes to college, and give her better habits for her adult life.

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Old 05-05-2014, 11:26 AM   #14
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Jink - I look forward to hearing about how it goes with your daughter. I think the more we can do with kids early on, the better.

I'm a bit discouraged at home right now, despite my earlier upbeat post - my daughter has started binging a bit on the carb stuff between meals, but it's my fault because I'm not serving substantial enough meals. Bad mommy.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:37 PM   #15
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Sbarr I love Michael Pollan too! He really helped me shape my views on how we should eat, and spurred my interest in the industrial food complex that rules us now, unfortunately.

I don't limit my teenage kids much these days...weight issues don't really run on either side of family, nor does diabetes or other weight related diseases. That said, I'm 20 lbs over ideal weight, as are a few of the aunts and uncles...my primary goal is to teach my kids to limit junk food and try to make healthy choices, and stay active!. My son is pretty good at it-he's very athletic and understands the impact of good nutrition on his performance. My daughter, who is younger, isn't quite there yet. She's small for her age (always has been off the charts low), and she really wants to gain weight. So we focus on full fat dairy and good protein for her. I think she's finally getting it.

The best things you can do, IMO, is set good examples, buy the best, most nutritious food possible, and don't obsess about weight-yours or theirs! Don't use the word "diet" around them....explain why you eat certain things and not others. The pressure to be thin is so immense, on ALL of us, it's so easy to go overboard.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:50 PM   #16
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Great topic! I have two girls myself who are 7 and almost 10. The 10 yr old is super skinny and probably always will be. We actually struggle to get her to eat enough in any given day. Luckily she likes all sorts of veggies and non-processed foods. When she does eat, she eats a well balanced diet and we do allow some sugary treats. Her weight has always been 10% on the growth charts. The struggle is getting her to eat! (i'll add a little explanation here so this makes more sense- DD is adopted and was basically starved in her orphanage in another country. She has no cues to know when she is hungry or thirsty. We have to make her eat, even when she thinks she is not hungry. She is learning but it has been a long road.)

My younger one has a serious medical condition. Her body needs probably twice the calories of a normal child just to maintain her weight. She has a lot of muscle too. She is a huge eater but never gains much so she stays on her very consistent growth curve. She is not allowed to eat sugar because of the effect it has on her (gets very hyper). We keep a lot of healthy choices in the house for her- fruits, unsweetened applesauces, etc. She needs a huge amount of protein in her diet and luckily she is an eater- eggs, meats, you name it, it disappears. One of her favorites is hard boiled eggs!

They both have asked about my WOE and understand why I eat like I do. They often offer me some of their snacks- a piece of fruit or a goldfish cracker or something similar. They are beginning to better understand what I can and can't eat and seem okay with it. I like that they understand what carbs are and how they effect different people.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:57 PM   #17
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My daughter nor I use the F word (Fat) around the girls. Nor do we say diet. We do use the phrase "eating healthier" to explain some of our lc food choices. But I don't want to imply that my not eating bread makes their eating bread not healthy. They eat bread and it's not my place to change their diet.

I told my granddaughter, when she commented about my bunless burger, that bread gives me a tummy ache. I'm not sure that's the best way to go.

Fruit it harder to explain than bread. I myself have a hard time finding fault with something grown from the ground and unaltered, being bad for us. I know that fruit actually has been altered through the years, to taste better though. Before going lc, I would have considered better sweeter tasting fruit, a good thing.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:55 AM   #18
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My DD is 17, she is at the perfect weight, in the exact middle of her range for ideal weight for her height. We don't limit what she eats, but we do limit what foods we have in the house. They eat mostly organic whole foods, I eat mostly organic low carb. Her and hubby have to request junk food they want in the house, or I won't buy it. She still drinks soda, both diet and regular and it is the only thing I get on her about eating. I gave up soda about two years ago and hubby gave it up shortly after me. We don't keep it at the house. We are thinking of having another baby and I will be very conscious of what we teach them about food and what food we feed them.
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