A recent article in a Finnish newspaper raised a few eyebrows. A nutritionist from Eastern Finland disclosed that a Finnish family had been threatened to have their child taken into custody because they had been eating Low Carb High Fat food. The nutritionist, Ursula Schwab, claimed that LCHF “can put the child’s development at risk”. She did not elaborate at how exactly this would happen.
However, she did claim that because a typical LCHF diet contains a lot of fat, this would lead to children eating less. She illustrated her reasoning by saying that if children were served bacon and eggs for breakfast, it could take hours before they wanted to eat again. Apparently – according to her – this could lead to malnutrition, because these children would then not eat often enough. So, according to this expert, quantity wins over quality?
This reasoning is also very interesting, because Ms Schwab doesn’t give any examples of what she thinks a “healthier” breakfast should consist of. Lets look at what the average Finnish family has on their breakfast table: sugared cereals perhaps? Orange juice? Sugared low fat yoghurt with only traces of real fruit in it? Processed ham or sausage to put on the white flour bread? Hmm… don’t know if bacon and eggs really lose out in nutritional value, compared to these.
Not to mention what the rest of the day’s food intake might be? For lunch: pasta with low-fat sauce (filled with additives to cover the lack of any real ingredients), fat-free milk, white bread with margarine. Keeps you full for about half an hour, after which your blood sugar drops and you need a snack. Time for a sandwich perhaps (white bread again, margarine, low-fat cheese or processed ham/sausage with more flour than meat in it..)? And to top it all off, why not have a few chocolate bars, an ice cream, a sugary soda, a can of juice or an energy drink? Because after having eaten that, you sure are in need of some energy…
One thing I agree with Ms Schwab on is that “a growing child needs a varied diet”. But with varied I don’t suppose she means the sugar, white flour or additives found in the “ordinary” food stuffs mentioned above. Because if you really know what you’re talking about, you’d also know that those are what most LCHF families quit eating. They are substituted with, for instance: plenty of fresh vegetables, berries, real milk and cream, full fat yogurt and cheese, real butter, ecological meat, chicken, fish, nuts & seeds, almonds and eggs.
So, I wonder which parents really are “putting their children’s development at risk”?
PS 1: Obviously you should not make any changes in your child’s diet before you know what you are doing. There is plenty of research and information around, if you want to know more. Start by checking out this site, which gives good basic info:
PS 2: There is 1 exception to the above rule: you can cut out sugar and white flour from anybody’s diet right away – nobody (child or adult) needs those and it is impossible to cause anybody malnutrition by avoiding them – you’ll probably have a better chance of avoiding malnutrition if you do.