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Skinny Without Willpower

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I get quite a few calls on the show from parents that are worried about their kids being skinny and not liking any sweets and/or not eating a certain nutritious things. Here I would like to shed some light on kid’s nutrition. First and foremost, I would urge parents to shy away from low fat diets for the kids especially if they are cutting down on the essential fatty acids that are present in nuts, seafood and even dairy. I hear parents giving skim milk to their kid which is the worst thing you can do to a kid’s growing brain. The working surface of the brain is composed mainly of fatty acids and the protective Myelin sheath surrounding the neurons is 30% protein and 70% fat. This protective sheath is crucial for the longevity of the neurons because unlike the rest of the body cells the brain and neuron cells don’t regenerate. Studies of the ancient human fossils have found that the populations living near the oceans had a larger brain compared to the populations living inland. This was attributed to the diet of the costal people mainly consisting of seafood and shell fish both of which are high in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and cholesterol. DHA is the essential building block of brain cells and mothers milk is rich in this essential fatty acid and it has been shown time and again that a baby fed on mothers milk has a higher IQ than a formula fed baby. Although DHA is abundant in seafood but it can be made in our brains from ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) family of fats found in the omega-3 containing food groups like flax, walnuts, almonds and green leafy vegetables. So in a nut shell give your kids nuts, seafood, green leafy vegetables and whole milk for optimum brain development.

As far as kids being skinny, I would say one need not worry about the weight as it’s mostly genetic at that age and as long as the kid is otherwise healthy and active and has a robust immunity there is no cause for worry. So if your kid is on the skinny side, don’t worry after a certain age he will start putting on more weight as his metabolism slows down. I know this is hard to digest being Indians as we often equate chubbiness to health. But remember obesity in kids is on the rise, thanks to high-fructose corn syrup in most soft drinks, candy bars and cereals. And if your kid doesn’t enjoy fruits because they are sweet try giving him more vegetables as they are also rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants and if you are still worried then giving them a kids multi-vitamin pill everyday is a good idea.

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