Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
step 7: rethink dairy calcium in a child’s diet can interfere with iron absorption and often takes the place of important iron-rich foods in their diet. Another important lesson I learned when working on the MEND programme, was that children over the age of one, unless breastfeeding or under paediatric supervision, should drink water over milk and save their calories for calcium-rich food instead. Although milk is a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, there’s no evidence that drinking it reduces bone fractures as we age. Additionally, these nutrients are available from many other food sources like yoghurt, cheese and leafy green vegetables. Milk is also filling for little tummies and may prevent your child from eating meals. Some studies show milk to be oestrogenic, meaning it promotes the production of oestrogen, and so possibly linked to hormonal issues. While further research is needed, some experts believe drinking too much milk can contribute to obesity. And then there are concerns about pasteurised and homogenised milk losing good bacteria and enzymes that aid in digestion as well as questions over dairy from cows fed with grain that may be highly processed. My advice is to offer children no more than two serves of dairy a day and ensure they come from an organic source wherever possible. It's always best to offer cheese and yoghurt over cow's milk as they are easier to digest. This does not apply to babies under one year of age on a cow's milk formula. Look out for and avoid: • Hormones • Bovine growth promoters • Preservatives • Additives • Sweeteners • Vegetable oils (unless organic, cold-pressed) Low-fat vs full fat This topic is causing heated debate. The Dietitians Association of Australia and the American Academy of Pediatrics continue to advise that children over the age of two move onto low-fat dairy products. There are many nutritionists like myself who disagree. Let’s look at it from an empirical point of view: When fat is taken out of dairy products they become watery and unappetising, so manufacturers cleverly add sugar, flavours and colouring to make them more appealing again. If you offer a young child a serving of whole natural yoghurt like our grandparents enjoyed, they will often happily eat it as is, or you may have to add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it. You would never add 4-5 teaspoons of honey to one cup of yoghurt, but that’s often how much sugar is in flavoured lowfat yoghurts marketed to young children. Consider the vitamins and minerals in dairy. These are fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Meaning without fat they are not as efficiently absorbed. Vitamin K, found naturally in butterfat, gets taken out of fat-free versions altogether. Certainly, if your child is overweight or obese and they are drinking more than one cup of milk per day, then I would recommend offering lowfat milk or preferably water instead. In my clinical experience, however, when I swap children over to full-fat dairy products they tend to eat less of it and stay fuller for longer. If your child is at a healthy weight and has no other medical conditions, my recommendation is that they continue to consume full cream milk products after age two, but in moderation (no more than two serves a day). It’s best to buy organic whole milk from grass-fed cows and choose nonhomogenised milk if possible (homogenisation prevents liquid and fat from separating). Why organic matters We all know organic/biodynamic farming is better for the environment and better for cows, but it’s also healthier for us too. Organic/ biodynamic farming where cows are fed mostly pasture, produce superior milk free of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones and higher in omega-3s than conventional milk. What is A2 milk? A1 and A2 beta-casein are two types of milk protein. A long time ago, prior to domestication, there was only A2. However, after domestication some cows started to produce the A1 protein too. Studies are clearly suggesting that A2 is less likely to cause inflammation (which can lead to a raft of diseases) and is more easily tolerated by those who find ordinary milk hard to digest. A connection has also been made between A1 milk and type 1 diabetes, heart disease and autism. Human breast milk is A2 which also points to A2 being better for us – though it may be possible for a mother drinking A1 milk to pass this on in her own milk. Supermarket milk usually contains more A1 than A2 and pure-A2 cow’s milk is now being marketed 233 you know? Did Calcium on its own is not enough. We need vitamin D to absorb the calcium. We can make our own vitamin D when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight, or get it from eating oily fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks and fortified foods such as cereals and yoghurt.