Independent scientists and nutritionists at the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl) have today published new guidelines for healthy eating for children. The guidelines stress the need to help children to shift from burning carbohydrates as their primary energy source to healthy fats, including ones derived from whole milk products, olive oil, nut and seed oils, coconut oil and intramuscular fats in meat. They also call on dramatic reductions in sugar intake, recent increases in consumption being attributed to misinformed government policies to reduce saturated fats.
Robert Verkerk PhD, lead author of the ANH-Intl’s Food4Kids guidelines, said:
“We believe government guidelines are out of step with recent nutritional science.” He added, “Children today are suffering metabolic disease and tooth decay at ever younger ages. They’re victims of a now discredited, 30-year-old policy, based on no proper scientific evaluation, to banish even healthy fats from the diets of children and adults alike. Sugar has filled the gap and kids are paying a heavy price for it.”
Rather than including only 4 food groups like the present UK Department of Health guidelines created by the Children’s Food Trust, the Food4Kids guidelines incorporate 8 food groups. The authors say this is to encourage consumption of healthier food groups, in more appropriate ratios. The guidelines also include a food group entitled ‘concentrated nutrients’; the aim is to promote increased intake of nutrients in herbs and spices, as well as vitamin D and various minerals, intakes of which have been found to be deficient in large numbers of British children following the rolling National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2008-12).
The guidelines propose that children derive approximately 55% of their energy from healthy fats, 35% from carbohydrates and the remaining 10% from protein sources. This compares with the government advice suggesting 50% of energy is derived from carbohydrates, with no specific mention of fats.
Dr Verkerk remarked that; “Proteins and fats help satiate the appetite, and sugars don’t. There is even emerging evidence that sugars may be addictive. It is the regular consumption of sugary snacks and drinks that’s doing so much damage, and pushing kids ever more quickly into metabolic diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes. We need to help children develop healthier eating and physical activity patterns while reducing their reliance on soft drinks and snacks which are typically energy dense and nutrient deficient.”