Is Your Child Consuming Too Many Empty Calories?
IN NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN MEDICINE
We’re a nation of fast food fanatics and processed food junkies. Soft drinks, pizza, whole milk and desserts contribute to the unhealthy status of American children. With childhood obesity tripling in the past three decades, it’s important children receive adequate sources of energy by eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Do you know how your child is getting his or her daily caloric intake?
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 40 percent of the energy consumed by adolescents ages 2 to 18 comes in the form of “empty” calories—those from solid fats and added sugars. These calories provide no nutritional value and may lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.
| Children’s Top Empty Calories:
- Grain desserts—Donuts, cookies and cakes are all delicious treats children should enjoy in moderation and on occasion, but too many carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to rise. The body needs some carbohydrates and grains, but unfortunately many of the processed foods we eat confuse our liver and make it difficult for us to process.
Solution: Treat your child to a fruit dessert. Prepare his or her favorite fruits with a small topping of whipped cream or a creamy flavored yogurt.
- Pizza—There are about 300 calories in one slice of cheese pizza, depending on where you eat pizza. Many schools around the U.S. offer pizza as a daily choice in the lunchroom line.
Solution: Pack your child’s lunch if your child’s school doesn’t offer nutritional alternatives to pizza. Also, if your child loves pizza, make your own healthy pizza at home. Use whole-grain crust, low-fat pizza sauce, fat-free cheese and load it with vegetables.
- Soda—All sodas are packed with harmful additives and sugars. According to webmd.com, nearly 90 studies have linked sweetened beverages to childhood weight problems. One or two sodas a day are harmful and can cause tooth decay, kidney problems and poor bone health.
Solution: If your child loves drinking soda, there are other healthy alternatives they may enjoy. Offer them flavored water or 100 percent fruit juices.
- Chicken dishes—It’s more than likely that your child loves chicken nuggets. While chicken provides a great source of protein, fried chicken or chicken dishes full of sugar can contribute to high calories.
Solution: Baked or grilled chicken dishes are a healthy source of protein for your child.
© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.
Sources: consumeraffairs.com, nih.gov, webmd.com, abcnews.com, themoneytimes.com, medicalnewstoday.com
To locate a physician, please call our Physican Referral Service at 772.563.4764 or visit the IRMC Web site at www.irmc.cc