Food Restrictions & the Health Implications for Your Family

Last updated on February 8th, 2016 at 01:00 pm

foods wrapped in plastic tapeWhile it is true, food allergies and food-related disorders are on the rise, and the established cause(s) are unknown, this type of rising health issue can raise all kinds of fears that then cause people to make unnecessary changes to their diets and even more concerning, changes to their child’s dietsChildren are in a rapid state of growth, and that growth requires adequate nutrition from a variety of foods. Unnecessarily taking out food groups from anyone’s daily intake can do the opposite of your goal – it can cause health problems. But what if your doctor has diagnosed you or your loved one with a food allergy, intolerance or other food-related disorder? We work with some phenomenal physicians that regularly make referrals to us for nutritional guidance. But too many families are trying to navigate their new food restrictions on their own.

Apart from the food allergy/intolerance reason, more people are fearful of what is in their food. There are several reasons why this is the case, but much of it is coming from activists that have published blogs, documentaries and exposés on the American food industry. We see these people coming to our office wanting to get their families off certain foods. In many cases, we are able to calm their fears for the various unsubstantiated claims with evidence-based information. But ultimately, we want to guide them through what they decide to do instead of them doing it on their own.

Here are the top 5 food restrictions we see that are occurring – and the potential health/nutritional consequences that can result without proper guidance.

Dairy-Free
When you think of the nutrients in dairy, many think of calcium. Some may even think of calcium and vitamin D. But did you know there are actually 9 essential nutrients in dairy foods? They include calcium, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, protein, riboflavin and vitamin B12. The three that are already low in the average American diet are calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

We often get toddlers that are coming in drinking almond milk because their parents report a diagnosed or undiagnosed milk intolerance. Almond milk is not high enough in calories and protein for toddlers and some preschoolers – and some forms are not enriched with calcium and vitamin D. Toddlers that already take in very little protein often get their protein from dairy foods at this age.

We must educate families on ways to fill these nutrient gaps. If you are navigating this on your own, you will often fall short. Let’s go with an adult example.  We see adults come in for weight loss that have a history of hypertension (high blood pressure) and they are not eating dairy because “it doesn’t agree with their stomachs.” Did you know that dairy is part of the well-established DASH diet? This has been deemed the best diet for the 5th year by U.S. News and World Reports. DASH which is an acronym for “Dietary Approaches for Stopping Hypertension” emphasizes foods that are naturally high in calcium, potassium and magnesium. We can either help them enjoy dairy again, or find alternate foods that they will eat that contain these nutrients. Without proper guidance, a person could be missing an opportunity to help decrease their health condition by using nutrition therapy.

Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free
This has been a big one these last couple of years. More than ever, people are going off wheat or gluten for the simple fact that they seem to feel better when they do so. While some people clearly need to do so in the case of an established diagnosis of celiac disease, consider getting more testing before taking this drastic step. If testing comes back negative and you still want to trial a wheat-free or gluten-free diet, seek a registered dietitian nutritionist that can help you navigate your new eating plan that does not compromise your nutrition status. Whole wheat and other wheat products provide many essential nutrients such as vitamin E, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, K along with important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium. Many of these are lost if you are replacing wheat with say, a rice-based bread, pasta or cracker. Wheat deletion also impacts flavor, and many gluten-free products compensate by adding sugar. There is a healthy way to convert to a wheat-free or gluten-free diet and get all the necessary nutrients while minimizing added sugar. But professional, credentialed advice is critical. If you rely on Internet searches, it is highly likely you will find wrong information. We no longer live in a world where we can blindly trust written information.

Vegan or Other Forms of Vegetarianism
Proper vegetarian eating can be extremely healthy. High plant-based diets have been rightly tied to increased longevity, disease prevention and have actually been a big healing tool in the fight against serious diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. With all that being said, there are many nutritional consequences to a vegetarian diet improperly executed. We have actually had people come into Lemond Nutrition wanting to go vegetarian, but they do not like vegetables! You can absolutely be a vegetarian and live off junk food that is free of all animal products. At the most restrictive form of vegetarianism – veganism – one must be most purposeful in getting nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D vitamin B12 and iron. Without proper planning, these nutrient deficits can have some serious health implications.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates continue to be demonized as the macronutrient that contributes to obesity. In my many years of analyzing food intake, it is even more obvious to me that calories from all foods with inadequate physical activity are the culprit. Carbohydrates are the one nutrient that causes more fluid retention so some people get an immediate feeling of body swelling. But without quality carbohydrates, our bodies will not function well.

The highest risk groups when it comes to carbohydrate restriction include children and highly active, health-minded people. Parents that restrict their own carbohydrates seem to also restrict their children’s carbohydrates. I hear parents tell me, “I don’t know why my kids love their carbs so much!” The behavioral ramifications of saying this in front of your kids is another subject altogether. But the answer is that children need more carbohydrate because they are growing and are typically more active than adults.

For the active, health-minded individual I say that we need to balance good quality carbohydrates with appropriate portions of healthy fats and protein at each meal. Cutting them out altogether can make you feel sluggish and can impact your fitness and life quality – not to mention the nutrient shortfalls depending on the type and extent of the restriction.

Calories
The lower the better, right? Wrong. That’s what the dieting industry will tell you. Energy for the body is measured in kilocalories, and a chronic inadequate intake can actually cause minor and major illnesses. In case you haven’t heard, chronic dieting is absolutely detrimental to your overall health. Get a nutritional assessment that takes an overall look at your particular energy and nutrient needs – it is good for everyone to do that every so often – just like we get tune-ups for our precious cars, so should we get nutritional re-assessments for our bodies.

Here at Lemond Nutrition, we guide people of all ages dealing with either diagnosed food allergies, food intolerance or other food-related issues – or people that want to do self-trials of various diets. We provide some very helpful starter shopping lists of current on-the-market products that have been flavor-tested by our practitioners and families over the years. The bottom line here is, when in doubt, seek assistance.  There are some incredible resources that make it easier to navigate these changes and qualified professionals will guide you to them with proper monitoring.

Whatever your reason, consider visiting with a qualified registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in your area so they can guide you through the process. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a national database of qualified registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) that will allow you to find a professional in your specific area.

What Can I Do if My Child is Overweight?

Last updated on February 1st, 2016 at 10:36 am

fat boy eat fried chickenIf you’re concerned about your child’s weight there are a number of steps you can take to help them learn how to change their diet and increase their physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A GP (*pediatrician) or practice nurse can give advice and support on helping your child achieve a healthy weight as they grow. Find out more in When your child is overweight.

Monitoring Your Child’s Weight with the Body Mass Index (BMI)

You can keep an eye on your whole family’s weight using the BMI healthy weight calculator. For children, the calculator assesses their weight status in relation to their height, age and sex. This means that the result – the child’s BMI centile – takes into account how a child is growing for their age and sex.

BMI is the best way to keep track of a child’s weight status and is a measure used by healthcare professionals such as GPs. Because so many children are now overweight or obese it’s not possible to tell if a child is a healthy weight just by looking at them or by comparing them to other children.

Helping Your Child Grow into a Healthy Weight

Children can achieve a healthy weight as they grow by:

  • Changing their diet
  • Increasing how much exercise or physical activity they do

Get Involved

There is also strong evidence to suggest that involving both parents and children, or whole families, is effective in reducing children’s BMI scores read more about getting active with your kids.

Read the answers to more questions about children’s health.

Further Information:

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 01-18-2016 to 01-24-2016

Last updated on February 3rd, 2016 at 11:26 am

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Safety News: Parents Beware: 5 Smartphone Uses That Could Get Your Kids Convicted https://t.co/c6WqTJmCzR

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Zika Warning Spotlights Latin America’s Fight Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases
https://t.co/rZMgZI8vgq *

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*Editor’s Note: According to the World Health Organization, it is highly likely we will see Zika in the U.S.  http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/25/health/who-zika-virus-americas/ We will continue to provide updates on Twitter as they become available.

Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist?

Last updated on February 1st, 2016 at 10:38 am

Children's dentistAs adults, we all know the importance of oral health and maintaining an oral care regimen. But, what about your children? When should they see a dentist, and does it matter what type of dentist they see? Most babies get their first teeth around the age of 6 months. The ideal time to begin seeing a dentist is about 6 months after the first tooth erupts, so about 1 year of age. Many parents have the misconception that because baby teeth will eventually fall out, they don’t need to be properly cared for. This is false. Baby teeth, or milk teeth as they are often referred to, are important to take care of because they pave the way for healthy adult, or permanent, teeth.

In the dental industry today, there are many different types of dentists who specialize in certain areas. In fact, there are dentists who are specially educated to care for children. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has 2-3 years of training after dental school that is geared towards caring for children’s teeth and dental issues as they relate to children. They learn about kid-specific entities such as sedatives for children, treating children under general anesthesia and behavior guidance, which allows the dentist to adapt their behavior to fit the needs of a child. This behavior guidance training also gives dentists the ability to learn about caring for those with special needs. Pediatric dentists are able to offer suggestions to parents on hygiene, diet and nursing factors that could cause or prevent oral health issues in children. Often, a pediatric dentists’ office environments are even geared towards children. They will see children from their very first dental appointment through the teenage years.

Is it necessary that your child see a pediatric dentist, though? It’s best to consult your family pediatrician or your family dentist. They can offer guidance in the best treatment for your child. If your child has abnormal oral health issues or severe dental anxiety, seeing a pediatric dentist may be a great option for you and your family. On the other hand, if your family has a standing relationship with a general dentist, and your child needs a regular checkup, seeing a general dentist would suffice. There are some general dentists who have received advanced training in children’s dentistry, even though they are not pediatric dentists. In this situation, it is up to the family to decide what is best for their child.

AMC & Autism Society’s Next Sensory Friendly Film: Ride Along 2

Last updated on January 27th, 2016 at 11:23 am

AMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program, in partnership with the Autism Society!  This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Ride Along 2, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

New sensory friendly logoAs always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

two men in front of a carDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Ride Along 2 tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in FebruaryAMC has not yet provided details of the February Sensory Friendly films

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Editor’s note: Although Ride Along 2 has been chosen by the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for sequences of violence, sexual content, language and some drug material. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Autism Society and AMC Show Norm of the North this Saturday

Last updated on January 25th, 2016 at 03:20 pm

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Animated polar bear in NYCDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

This Saturday, January 23rd, at 10am local time, AMC and the Autism Society’s “Sensory Friendly Film” program will be showing Norm of the North. Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming later in January: Ride Along 2 (Tues, 1/26)

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Editor’s note: Although Norm of the North has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for mild rude humor and action. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.