Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
175 174 GOOD FATS BAD FATS OKAY IN MODERATION FATS WHAT: Monounsaturated fats WHY: These are the fats associated with the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Reduce bad cholesterol, lower risk of heart disease, normalise insulin levels and stabilise blood sugar levels. BEST SOURCES: Avocado, extra virgin cold-pressed avocado oil, olives, extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, macadamia nuts, extra virgin cold-pressed macadamia oil. WHAT: Trans fats WHY: They are the product of hydrogenating vegetable oils which makes them solid at room temperature and prevents them from spoiling. They’re universally accepted to be harmful, increasing the danger of heart disease by increasing the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol and decreasing beneficial HDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and stroke. There’s really no debate: Trans fats do not belong in our children’s bodies. SOURCES: Processed foods, especially confectionery, pastries, shortening, French fries and store-bought cookies. Anything deep-fried, some margarines, vegetable shortening and snack foods like potato chips. A very small amount of trans fats can occur naturally in meat and dairy products too. WHAT: Saturated fat WHY: There has been a lot of controversy about the role of saturated fat and heart disease. In the past, experts warned that too much saturated fat (primarily found in meat and dairy products) could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, recent findings are suggesting that there is no clear evidence that directly links saturated fat to heart disease. In the case of children, saturated fat – when eaten in moderation and obtained from wholefood sources such as grass-fed beef, coconut oil and high quality dairy products – can prove to be a beneficial part of a balanced diet and ensure proper brain health, nerve function and cell membrane health. Growing children need it as part of a well-balanced diet to help them feel satiated. SOURCES: Coconut oil, pasture-fed beef, lamb, organic chicken, turkey and eggs, whole dairy products. Feeding your children saturated fats from these sources as opposed to grain-fed beef or processed sausages will make a key difference. WHAT: Omega-3 (polyunsaturated fat) WHY: Omega-3s are known as essential fatty acids because they are essential to vital biological processes in the body. We are not able to manufacture them ourselves so we must include them in our diet to reduce bad cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Deficiency can cause dry skin, eczema, lethargy, weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances and depression. A lack of these fats can also impact performance on reading tests and working memory and may add to symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. A diet rich in these protective fats may also help to prevent heart disease, arrhythmias, stroke and reduce blood pressure. BEST SOURCES Oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and mackerel, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables. Ensuring your meat is grass fed and grass finished (i.e. not grain fed just prior to being slaughtered) will help too. WHAT: Omega-6 (polyunsaturated fat) WHY: As with omega-3s, our bodies are unable to make this essential fatty acid and consuming it in the right quantity can help to protect against heart disease, eczema, ADHD and certain allergies. BEST SOURCES: Meat, poultry, eggs, sesame seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, linseed, green leafy vegetables, borage and evening primrose oils. FATS: The Good, The Bad and The OKay in moderation So how much fat should my child be eating? Ages 1-3: It’s recommended that fats contribute towards 30%-40% of young children’s total calorie intake. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. Therefore, a toddler who consumes 1000 calories would require 33 to 45 grams of fat each day. It is recommended that toddlers consume 700 milligrams of omega-3s each day, some of which can be achieved from eating foods such as oily fish or a handful of chopped walnuts. If you’re struggling to get your child to eat omega-3 rich foods, ask your paediatrician, nutritionist or GP about purified omega-3 oils for children. Age 4+: Fats should contribute 25%-35% of their total calories. Depending on the level of activity and gender, children aged 4 to 8 need 1200 to 2000 calories and kids aged 9 to 13 require 1400 to 2600 calories. Based on these calorie guidelines, children aged 4 to 8 need 33 to 78 grams of fat daily and kids aged between 9 and 13 require 39 to 101 grams of fat daily. Individualised fat requirements for your child vary by age, gender and specific calorie needs. It is recommended that children over 4 consume 900 milligrams of omega-3s each day. But won’t fat make my child fat? Healthy children will not gain weight if they eat fat from the correct sources. During the 1990s when low-fat diets were all the rage many parents, following on from their own diets, offered their kids foods like low-fat cottage cheese, 99% fat-free yoghurt, and used spray oils in canisters to further limit their intake of fats. Fuelled by an increasing fear of overweight and obese children, and told that limiting fats could prevent heart disease, parents understandably came to believe that restricting dietary fats could keep children from becoming fat. However, a child’s energy demands are much higher than an adult’s, so low-fat diets do not provide an adequate supply of nutrients and can even disrupt a child’s normal rate of growth and development. Fat, satiety and metabolism In contrast to low-fat foods, whole foods leave children more satiated, reducing cravings for bigger portion sizes and unhealthy snacks. Although fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, eating the right type of fat can cause your body to burn more energy and, importantly, can signal to your child when they are full, as fat causes satiety. In my practice, I see a lot of children on carb-intense diets. Multiple crackers, especially rice cakes or corn cakes, are a staple part of their snack routine. If you add a layer of fat to crackers in the form of almond butter, coconut oil, avocado, mashed eggs or unsalted butter, a child will tend to feel more satisfied. Often I see kids who complain to their parents that they are hungry just 30 minutes after a meal and this can often be solved by increasing the good fats offered at mealtimes. For example, if a child is eating porridge with honey and milk, adding a tsp of unsalted butter or crushed almonds, chia seeds or flaxseeds will help them to feel satiated for longer. Vegetables, too, need fat to ensure their fat-soluble vitamins and minerals are absorbed – so go ahead and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter. Do you need to watch your child’s cholesterol? In infancy, cholesterol is one of the most important fats as it has a huge part to play in the development of cognitive health as well as proper hormone and sexual function and development. Good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) works to lower bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Foods such as olive oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, chopped nuts, fibre and legumes can all help to lower LDL. Even from a young age, it’s important to focus on these sources of good cholesterol. Omega-6 vs omega-3: What’s the difference? Both are beneficial, but if there is too much omega-6 in a child’s diet and not enough omega-3, it can increase the risk of inflammation and disease. An ideal ratio is between 2:1 or 4:1 – two to four times as much omega-6 as omega-3. The average Australian diet has a ratio of 10:1. To correct the balance, try to focus on avoiding processed foods containing vegetable oils and upping omega-3-rich foods. This will help you manage your child’s overall intake of omega-6s and Did you know? Breast milk is 40%-50% saturated fat and cholesterol – nature knows best when it comes to what infants need to grow and develop. step 5: healthy fats Consider this... Some studies have shown that people who ate high-fat diets had a much faster metabolism. Low-fat, high-carb diets, on the other hand, spiked insulin, subsequently slowing metabolism and storing belly fat. Not all fats are created equal. Some are beneficial, some are seriously harmful and others are fine in moderate amounts.