Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Little Fat, Sugar OK for Kids If Diet Is Healthy: Study


Do what's necessary to make nutrient-rich foods palatable, pediatricians say

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Cutting junk food from kids' diets is important, but if a little sugar and fat helps them eat their veggies, that's a good trade-off, a leading group of pediatricians says.

New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics emphasize the importance of introducing kids to a wide variety of "whole foods" -- from fruits and vegetables, to whole grains and nuts, to fish and low-fat dairy.

And to do that, parents need to make the foods palatable, say the guidelines published online Feb. 23 in the journal Pediatrics.

In the last decade, "tremendous progress" has been made in improving the nutritional quality of meals and snacks available in U.S. schools, said Dr. Robert Murray, a professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University and co-author of the academy recommendations.

Still, Murray said, there is work to be done in revamping U.S. kids' overall diet -- including the bag lunches and snacks that they bring to school.

And while it's important to limit processed foods -- often high in sugar, salt or fat -- parents shouldn't focus solely on cutting "bad" things from their kids' diets, Murray said.

"I think people can get thrown off track when a nutrient is labeled as 'bad,' " he said. "Whole categories of food may be thrown out."

If the only milk a young child will drink is flavored milk, for example, the extra sugar might be worth it -- as long as the child's overall diet has limits on sugary foods, according to the academy recommendations.

Similarly, if a dash of brown sugar gets your child to eat oatmeal, or a little salt and fat -- such as vegetable oil or cheese -- will encourage him to eat his veggies, then parents shouldn't be afraid to use them, Murray said.

"Think of sweeteners, fat, salt and spices as ways to make nutrient-rich foods more palatable to children," he said.

Children's eating habits are a national concern because of the high prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States. As kids have fattened up on high-calorie foods, their diets have become limited or deficient in key nutrients, the guideline authors say.

source : A Little Fat, Sugar OK for Kids If Diet Is Healthy: Study

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