Low Carb Diets Dangerous For Children

Child obesity is a growing problem and many parents are looking for ways to stop the weight gain. But if you are thinking of making your child go low carb, think again.
"Carbohydrate is to our bodies like gas to a car. It's literally our body's fuel. It is the fuel our brain and muscles burn for energy," said Trinity Mother Frances Dietician Marci Wright.
Wright said putting your child on a low carb diet will deny them the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.
"There are some very important nutrients in carbohydrate foods," said Wright, "lean meats, low fat dairy products, whole grain breads."
Wright said low carb diets do not provide adequate amounts of calcium, folates and Vitamin C, nutrients commonly found in fruits, vegetables and grains. Without those, your child's health is in danger.
"It could affect their growth if they're not getting an adequate amount of calcium," said Wright. "It could affect their brain development, it could affect their energy level. The child's not going to feel very good, not going to have very much energy. They may not be able to concentrate in class." Marci said she's not only worried about the physical affects of a low carb diet but the emotional. She said children are still forming a self image and using the word "diet" can have negative effects. "It's sending a powerful message to a child when a parent says you need to go on this diet. It's saying to that child that you don't think that they look good enough, that they need to loose weight to make you happy and accept them."
Instead, she suggests the entire family adopt healthier eating habits and exercise more. Those simple things can have dramatic effects,without robbing your child of the nutrients they need.
Health officials suggests you talk to your family doctor if your child is overweight. Your doctor can set up an appointment with a registered dietician who can design a healthy eating plan for your family and your child.

Story by Maya Golden, mgolden@kltv.com