Nutrition Myths and Facts for Parents Review Date 4/13 K-0664
Information Overload With so much information thrown at you, it is easy to become overwhelmed and confused.
Conflicting Nutrition Advice • Talk shows • News alerts • Family advice • Parenting magazines • Day care centers • Mommy blogs
Agenda • Discuss five common nutrition myths • Present the science-based truth • Provide practical feeding solutions
Myth 1: Sugar-sweetened foods cause kids to become “hyper.” Fact: Although many parents disagree, sugar does not cause hyperactivity.
The Evidence • Currently no convincing, scientific evidence supports any link between eating sugary foods and hyperactivity • Sugar is most often wrongly accused • Snack foods, games, and a room full of friends combined=EXCITEMENT!
The Solution For parties and special occasions: • Stay active with your child on the day of the event • Eat a light meal before the celebration • Offer to bring a healthy snack or dessert item • In general, limiting sugar-sweetened foods is a good idea: • High-sugar foods have fewer vitamins and minerals, provide excessive calories, and are a major cause of tooth decay
Myth 2: Children must eat red meat to prevent anemia. Fact: Vegetarians and vegans can meet all dietary recommendations through a well-planned diet during all life stages.
The Evidence • According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegetarian diets, are: • Healthful • Nutritionally adequate • Appropriate during all stages of the life cycle
The Evidence(cont’d) • Plant-based iron-rich foods include: • Beans • Legumes • Tofu • Soy • Green leafy vegetables • Dried fruit • Iron-fortified cereal • Whole grains
The Evidence(cont’d) • Offer plenty of plant-based, iron-rich foods, if you choose not to serve red meat to your child • Serve an iron-fortified cereal for breakfast • Provide dried fruit and whole-grain crackers as snacks • Prepare chili with beans and green leafy vegetables for lunch or dinner
Myth 3: Milk is a must for strong bones. Fact: Calcium is a must for strong bones. There are many sources of calcium other than milk.
The Evidence • Children are able to meet the dietary requirements for calcium without drinking milk or any other dairy products • Nondairy sources of calcium: • Dark-green leafy vegetables • Broccoli • Cooked dried beans • Peas • Fortified juices
The Solution • Incorporate nondairy sources of calcium into the diet, if you choose to avoid dairy • Make a fruit smoothie with green leafy vegetables • Prepare broccoli with fun dipping sauces
Myth 4: As long as I provide a daily multivitamin, my child is covered nutritionally. Fact: A multivitamin cannot replace the health benefits of eating healthy foods every day.
The Evidence • More research is needed to determine if multivitamin supplementation provides any health benefits • To meet the daily needs of various vitamins and minerals, increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
The Solution • Use the $20 you would spend on a multivitamin and buy more fruits and vegetables • Wash and store produce in a visible and child-accessible location • Prepare whole-grain toast with a fruit smoothie for breakfast • Offer fun-shaped fruits and vegetables with fun dips for an after-school snack
Myth 5: Children should eat low-fat diets. Fact: Fat is an important nutrient in a child’s diet. It supports various bodily functions and is required for proper organ development.
The Evidence • The role of dietary fat: • Supplies the body with energy • Aids in the absorption of some vitamins • Facilitates brain development • Insulates and protects organs
The Evidence (cont’d) • Fat also contains excessive calories and is related to overweight and obesity, if consumed in excess • Do not restrict dietary fat in children younger than 2 years of age, because this is a crucial time for brain development
The Solution • Practice portion control • Teach your child that high-fat foods are a treat you can eat on occasion • If excess weight is a concern, focus on increasing physical activity levels, rather than restricting the diet
Conclusion • Set the example • Encourage positive behaviors and decisions • Seek scientifically based recommendations
Resources • Busting the sugar-hyperactivity myth. WebMD Web site. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/busting-sugar-hyperactivity-myth?page=2. Accessed April 23, 2013. • Calcium. Nutrition411 Web site. http://www.nutrition411.com/component/k2/item/436-calcium. Accessed April 23, 2013. • Craig WJ, Mangels AR; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(7):1266-1282. • Fats and your child. KidsHealth® Web site. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/fat.html#. Accessed April 23, 2013. • Iron deficiency anemia. Nutrition411 Web site. http://www.nutrition411.com/component/k2/item/509-iron-deficiency-anemia. Accessed April 23, 2013. • US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. With benefits unproven, why do millions of Americans take multivitamins? MedlinePlus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_133698.html. Accessed April 23, 2013.