Better Body Clinical Nutrition


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Dietary Recommendations for Children: A Recipe for Future Heart Disease? – Part 1

Friday, September 22, 2023 12:31 PM


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There are many recommendations about the amounts of fat and the different types of fatty acids we should put into our diets. Who needs which fat(s) and how much? Are men different from women in their requirements? Are children different from adults in their requirements? What about the tolerances for fat as opposed to the absolute requirements for fat? What about the requirements for different fatty acids or different fatty acid categories? How much fat do children need for growth and development? How much of each of the different fatty acid classes do children need?

US Dietary Guidelines 

Through the USDA food pyramid and official dietary guidelines, the US government promotes a diet containing no more than 30 percent of calories as fat, with no more than 10 percent of calories as saturated fat. In a diet of 2400 calories, that translates into about 5 tablespoons total fat from all sources—including the fat in meat, eggs, butter, cheese, cooking fats and oils, baked goods, and salad dressings—with about 5 teaspoons of saturated fat. As butter, coconut oil and the fat on meat contain well over half of their calories as saturated fat, this means that these healthy foods must be severely restricted if one wants to adhere to the dietary guidelines.

Government agencies developed these guidelines and promoted them as a way to prevent heart disease in adults. Many scientists have shown that the theory that restricting fats can prevent heart disease is completely faulty. In any event, the guidelines were originally formulated as guidelines for adults at risk for heart disease.

Since the early 1990s, the US Dietary Guidelines have promoted a lower fat intake for children as well as for adults, as a way of protecting them from heart disease later in life. The USDA has even gone so far as to proudly acclaim that they have successfully developed lower fat meals for school lunches. The American Pediatrics Association now recommends that children aged 2 or older be given reduced fat milk. How wise is this approach to feeding children?

To be continued…..