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Healthy Food for Your Family

4.7 out of 5 stars5 stars83%4 stars3%3 stars10%2 stars3%1 star0%30 ratings1,757 views Audio onlyIf you’re a parent and you want to help your family to eat more healthy foods and fewer refined carbs… what should you do? It’s not always easy. Jenni Calihan has plenty of experience trying, and she blogs about it at

Watch a segment above (transcript). The full, longer video is on our member site:

Healthy Food for Your Family – Jenni Calihan

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A High Carb Intake During Pregnancy Associated with Childhood Obesity

Pregnant woman enjoying of eating chocolate

Not great?

Eating plenty of carbs and sugar during pregnancy might put your child at greater risk of becoming obese in the future, according to a new observational study:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Associations of Maternal Macronutrient Intake During Pregnancy with Infant BMI Peak Characteristics and Childhood BMI

This study doesn’t prove cause and effect, since it is merely based on statistical correlations. But it’s still interesting. Note that the amounts of protein and fat that women ate during pregnancy were not associated with markers of future childhood obesity.

So if you want to err on the safe side, I’d recommend a diet based on real food, and low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

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Secondhand Sugars: “Sugar Isn’t That Different to Smoking for Pregnant Women”

Waiting for a miracle

Can you really compare smoking cigarettes to eating sugar during pregnancy? Apparently. New research suggests that excessive simple sugars have the power to harm children’s development and health – just like smoking:

We are finding that sugar exposure can begin to affect a child even before birth. The sugars that a mother consumes while pregnant or nursing can be passed to her baby, disrupt healthy growth and development and pose risk for obesity.

Secondhand sugars? Considering how that concept played out with smoking, Big Sugar can not be happy about hearing those words…

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Meta-Analysis: Physical Activity Not Effective for Treating Overweight Children

stadium with running tracks

Focusing on physical activity has no effect on treating childhood overweight and obesity, according to a new meta-analysis.

Not only is exercise not very helpful in controlling weight in the first place. It also turns out that overweight kids don’t really increase their physical activity in studies that try to get them to do so:

Obesity Review: Effectiveness of Interventions on Physical Activity in Overweight or Obese Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Including Studies with Objectively Measured Outcomes.

This means a double failure for the simplistic “let’s move” mentality.

Once again: you can’t outrun a bad diet. And kids, it seems, can’t even be forced to run in the first place (if anyone really thought that was a good idea).

Please note that I’m not advocating for sedentary lifestyles. I’m just pointing out that the ‘eat less, run more’ dogma is outdated. Physical activity is important for health, but has a negligible effect on weight.

There’s likely only one way to massively improve the childhood obesity problem. Make sure that kids get to grow up in a healthy food environment, without added sugars in everything.

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‘Frightening’ Surge in Obesity-Related Disease Among Children

Doctor Teddy bear

A recent study by FAIR Health finds a ‘frightening’ spike in obesity-related disease among children.

The findings are “frightening,” Dr. Stephen Pont, a pediatrician and medical director of the childhood obesity center at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, told NPR News.

“The vast majority of kids should never have high blood pressure or diabetes or sleep apnea,” said Pont. “Now we’re seeing those consequences in kids. That will result in shorter lives and lower quality of life.”

Newsmax: Study: Sharp Spike in Obesity-Linked Diagnosis Among Kids, Teens

It is about time to recognize that what we’ve been doing for decades is just exacerbating problems with obesity, and truly hurting children.

Eating less and running more is rarely an effective long-term strategy – especially not for growing kids. What’s more important is the quality of the food we eat.

Kids with weight issues may be far better helped helped by real food, lower in refined carbs and sugar.

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Sugar Is the ‘Alcohol of the Child’, Yet We Let It Dominate the Breakfast Table


There’s a reason why there is an age limit on alcohol consumption – it’s toxic in large doses and can do damage to both the brain and liver.

We need to look at sugar in the same way, says professor Robert Lustig, and stop feeding our children sugar-filled breakfast that harms them:

The Guardian: Sugar Is the ‘Alcohol of the Child’, Yet We Let It Dominate the Breakfast Table

It’s wise to really start reading labels carefully to avoid unnecessary sugar, and remember that some common culprits are cereal, sweet yogurts and infant or toddler food.

Alternatively, just serve your child a real, homemade breakfast. Get some inspiration below.

Real breakfasts

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Children Who Drink Full-Fat Milk End Up Lighter


According to yet another study, kids who drink full-fat milk end up slimmer than kids who drink skim milk.

The Telegraph: Children Who Drink Full-Fat Milk End Up Slimmer Than Those on Skimmed

Skim milk is all milk sugar and insulinogenic protein, no satiating fat. It’s like white soda. Don’t drink it unless you’re weight training like a bodybuilder, or you’ll just build fat.

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New Study: Kids with Epilepsy Get Smarter on Keto

Can a ketogenic diet make a child with epilepsy smarter? According to this new study this year, the answer is likely yes:

  • Science Direct: Cognitive and Behavioral Impact of the Ketogenic Diet in Children and Adolescents with Refractory Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy Foundation: Food for Thought: Does the Ketogenic Diet Improve Thinking and Behavior?

    The children with epilepsy who were put on a ketogenic diet showed improved mood, thinking and behavior, compared to a control group.

    Of course, these improvements are not necessarily caused by the keto diet per se, they could also be caused by a reduced need for epilepsy medication. Those drugs often have cognitive side effects, like drowsiness or reduced ability to concentrate.

    Kids on a keto diet often need less medication for epilepsy (or even none at all), and thus they are likely to get fewer side effects. The same thing is likely to be true for adults.

    Have you noticed any cognitive benefits on a ketogenic diet?

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    ZERO Added Sugar to Children Below the Age of 2, Recommends the American Heart Association

    Maybe giving sugar to your child isn't such a great idea

    Not recommended

    The new recommendations about sugar and kids from the American Heart Association is out. After reviewing the science they recommend ZERO added sugar to children below the age of two, for health reasons.

    The AHA also recommends limiting intake to less than 25 grams a day (6 teaspoons) for older children. And a maximum of one sugar-sweetened beverage per week.

    Of course, this is far less sugar than most kids today consume.

    While the AHA still adhere to an outdated fear of natural fats, at least it’s good that they are getting very aware of the health dangers of added sugar.

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    Cutting Sugar Rapidly Improves Heart Health Markers

    Sugar – not just empty calories

    Can a simple dietary change – just eating less sugar – make children’s risk of heart disease take a quick nose dive? Possibly.

    In a new study (by Prof. Robert Lustig among others) researchers made obese children have less sugar, without changing calorie intake or macronutrients. They only substituted starch for sugar.

    What happened? A fat associated with heart disease, triglycerides, decreased by 33% and there were dramatic reductions of small, dense LDL cholesterol (another risk factor for heart disease). All in ten days:

    This supports the idea that sugar is uniquely problematic when it comes to heart disease risk. But the study did not have a control group, so the findings have be taken with a grain of salt (this is not an RCT).

    Still, getting these big reductions in heart disease risk factors just by eating less sugar and more of something else, without changing body weight, and in just 10 days… it’s hard to ignore.

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