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Is the keto diet safe for children? Experts weigh.



When you are on keto, is it good for your family to eat the same way?

The popularity of the ketogenic diet is indisputable, and with this popularity comes Instagram accounts, blogs and recipes dedicated to the keto lifestyle, which is based on a very low or no carb diet plan. When the landing children's cookbook recently landed on HuffPost, it got us thinking – is it okay for kids to be on this diet?

We consulted with several nutritionists (registered dietitians, doctors and pediatricians) to understand three key things: 1

) Is it safe to place children on keto; 2) Is it good for parents to put their children on the same diet they follow; 3) What is the best way for parents to talk to their children about their restricted diet? Here's what we learned.

Children and keto: A combo diet that has existed for decades

The ketogenic diet originated in the 1920s for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy (called refractory epilepsy) in children when medications were not effective "says Alice Pike, Registered Dietitian and Head of Nutrition Communication at the International Food Information Foundation ." Unlike the specific circumstance that a doctor would recommend, children are not recommended to take a keto diet . "

Pike added that nobody aqua diet guidelines for the entire population do not recommend ketogenic diets for children "or suggest that such a diet would be beneficial to the health of the child." Referring to 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans 144-page document that does not include the term keto or ketogenic, Pike pointed out that none of the three recommended eating patterns would put anyone into ketosis the process by which your body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

'The best dietary guidelines advise children to eat a varied diet that provides them with the right amount of all the nutrients (macro and micro) their growing bodies need. ”

– Alyssa Pike, RD

Pike also cites Northern Nutrition Recommendations 2012 that“ set their average requirements for r glycemic carbohydrates at a level that avoids ketosis in children and adults, ”and dietary recommendations for diets for healthy children of the American Heart Association ; guidelines that, if followed, would not put children in ketosis.

Keto does not provide the macronutrients that children need a healthy diet.

When it comes to the keto diet versus the traditional diet, there are huge differences between the recommended macronutrient supplements known as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. [19659022] In addition, the highly popularized keto diet, which is the rage today, has key differences from the established illicit treatment for epilepsy in children. Most importantly, the latter is a " prescribed diet with strict medical control that is precisely calculated to induce ketosis while providing adequate nutrition to prevent malnutrition and promote normal growth and development in children," says Carol Kirkpatrick, MD .D and Volunteer Science and Nutrition Expert at American Heart Association .

'A ketogenic diet followed by adults – most commonly for weight loss and recently for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but also by some athletes as part of their workout regimen – is not usually calculated accurately as a ketogenic diet prescribed for children with drug-resistant epilepsy, "said Kirkpatrick. "The main focus [of the adult keto diet] is to reduce carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams per day and limit protein intake to 1.0-1.5 grams per kilogram body weight or ideal body weight if overweight to induce ketosis. "[19659028] Very suitable for keto foods – such as steak with butter, for example – will not provide a picky nutrient with all the nutrients needed for a growing body. "width =" 719 "height =" 479 "/>

Many foods that are keto – for example, a steak with butter, for example – will not provide a picky nutrient with all the nutrients needed for growing

In terms of the macronutrient composition of the modern keto diet, it breaks down to 70-80% of the daily energy from fat, about 15% of the daily energy from protein and 5% from the daily energy from carbohydrates. "

" This macronutrient degradation does not reflect the recommended macronutrient composition for children between the ages of 4 – 18 Years from 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: 25-35% of total daily calories from fat, 10-30% of total daily energy from protein and 45-65% of total daily energy from carbohydrates, "Kirkpatrick says.

Keto diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health problems.

"Even when used with children with non-destructive epilepsy and under strict medical supervision, there are possible adverse effects of a ketogenic diet, including low cholesterol and low density triglycerides (LDL) and an increased risk of kidney stones," Kirkpatrick said. "There is also a risk of reduced bone mineral density if the ketogenic diet is followed for more than two years."

Jonathan Valdez, owner of Genki Nutrition and spokesman for New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics cites a study 2013 on the efficacy and safety of a ketogenic diet in Chinese children that reveals frequent reports of gastrointestinal disturbance, food failure and hypoproteinemia (low protein levels in the blood).

"It seems that if not completely needed to control seizures, which diet is not necessarily the best diet for children," Valdez says.

Kirkpatrick notes that it severely restricts carbohydrate intake of children to 20-50 grams per day (compared to the recommended dietary rate of 130 grams per day) "limits the intake of foods that provide fuel for energy and cognitive function, as and foods rich in vitamins and minerals required for growth and development. "

" Rapid growth, bone deposition, hormonal changes, metabolism, and many other differences make children react much differently to nutrition than the elderly. "

– Dr. Christopher F. Boling

" Nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods, including starchy and starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, beans and dairy products, should be offered to children meeting their carbohydrate needs, "Kirkpatrick said. "Low-nutrient carbohydrate foods that should be included at a minimum include foods with added sugars, sugary sugary drinks and highly processed or refined carbohydrate foods."

"Best dietary guidelines advise children to eat with a varied diet that provides them with the right amount of all the nutrients – macro and micro – from their growing bodies, ”said Pike. "This includes a wide range of fruits, vegetables, cereals – half of them must be whole grains and dairy products. Many are banned or severely restricted from the ketogenic diet. "

She cites a study that outlines the health problems observed in children after a keto diet for seizure control, including micronutrient and macronutrient deficiencies and side effects such as constipation, vomiting and diarrhea.

not medically prescribed, it may not be a good idea to put your child on a restricted diet.

If you follow a specific diet such as keto, paleo or vegan, it may be convenient to prepare the same foods for the whole family – including your children. – It is important to be careful "

" Children can eat similar foods that parents eat if parents follow a special diet, "says Kirkpatrick." However, parents must offer whole-hearted nutrition that teaches balance and healthy eating relationships. a variety of nutrient-dense foods rich in protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates that promote the healthy growth and development of their children. “

Dr. Christopher F. Boling, chair of the section of the American Academy of Pediatrics on obesity, noted that there are major physiological differences between children and adolescents compared to adults.

"Rapid growth, bone deposition, hormonal changes, etc. metabolism and many other differences make children react much differently to nutrition than adults, "says Boling. "Although more resilient in many ways than adults, [kids] will often be the first to show the effects of exposures or deficiencies."

Bolling added that there are behavioral concerns when it comes to children who accept same restricted diet as their parents.

"An adult has chosen to do an unproven diet," says Boling. "How many choices does a minor have? They may be coerced or shamed into various unhealthy decisions, not of their choice. In addition, teens are much more susceptible to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and most importantly, eating disorders. Equipping them with ways to handle healthy food is important to avoid unscrupulous behaviors such as excessively restricting diet or excessive exercise. "

When talking to your children about the restricted diet you follow, keep the focus on the health benefits.

"It is important for a child of any age to realize that while some foods have a higher nutrient density than others, it does not mean that we must create this culture of negative food talk," Valdez said. "This can lead to poor nutrition and other problems along the way."

Pike recommends that parents consult a health professional as a registered dietitian before talking to their children about the restrictive diet they follow, as these experts are trained to consult on this sensitive topic.

"It is important for parents to know that children adhere to and are influenced by their parents' connection to food, including the negative language sometimes used around certain foods," Pike said. "The tone of these conversations can influence how children view this food. There is a fine line between labeling a food as "good" or "bad" and subsequently recording yourself eating or not eating that food. "

For parents who follow a restricted diet to lose weight, Kirkpatrick encourages them to avoid the negative language for food and their bodies in front of their children and instead maintain a focus on overall healthy lifestyles.

" impressive and if you focus too much on restricting your diet or eating habits in general, you can increase the risk of poor eating and dysmorphia, which can make them struggle with nutrition and body problems far into adulthood, ”he said.Kirkpatrick.


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