HELPING CHILDREN LOSE WEIGHT
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© May 2012, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Improper diet is the main reason for too much weight gain in children today. This can be easily remedied in most cases without needing a lot of exercise. Other causes include a lack of adequate rest and sleep, stress and at times, food allergies. Let us discuss these factors in childhood obesity and how to correct them.
REST AND SLEEP
Recent medical research confirms the connection between a lack of adequate rest and sleep, and weight gain. This actually occurs in both children and adults. One study indicated that even one more hour of sleep helped teens lose significant amounts of weight.
Adequate rest also helps with ADHD, autism, learning problems, infections and much more. So a simple and effective ŇtreatmentÓ for overweight in children and adults is to sleep more hours each and every night.
Most children need at least 11 or more hours of sleep. At least 8 hours are needed to regenerate the body. Then, most children are growing and more sleep is needed for this function. In addition, more rest and sleep are needed for what I call spiritual development. This is also a very important need for all children today. It means they are reaching their highest potential when they sleep this much. Anything less is not good enough, plain and simple.
DIET AND WEIGHT
Most children eat terribly. I mean this very sincerely. The food is horrible, as are often the eating habits as well.
Children will often lose lots of extra weight if their food is carefully prepared at home and consists of about 60-70% cooked vegetables of all kinds, mainly lightly steamed, roasted or baked, but not deep fried.
Almost all fruit, however, is harmful for most children. This is because many children are fast oxidizers and the fruit further speeds up their oxidation rate. Also fruit is low in vital nutrients, and it is low in what is called etheric energy that everyone needs more of today. The sugars in fruits also tend to upset the blood sugar, especially in children.
All wheat and all refined starches are horrible for children. These include anything made with white flour, most white rice and to some degree pasta of all kinds and flour tortillas as well. If one wants to give a child tortillas, they should be corn tortillas only. Pasta can be made from brown rice, corn or quinoa.
Even intelligent parents often let their children eat what they want for fear of causing a rebellion at home, or just because they are too tired to prepare meals. This is horrible for children, who need examples and who need discipline.
Set an example and have firm, but fair rules. Children cannot be expected to have self-discipline and it is a parentŐs job to enforce good to excellent eating habits. This applies to spending time with friends, at othersŐ homes and so forth. There is no excuse for poor eating in children unless the parents just donŐt know better.
Never have improper foods around the house where they will tempt children, and avoid rewarding children with bad quality food. Try to find other ways to reward children, if possible. Rewarding children with junk foods, candy, cookies, ice cream and so on sends a message that Ňif I am good, I can have junk foodÓ. When the child grows up, he or she is likely to binge on this food if feeling sad or lonely, perhaps.
Metabolic typing is a very important subject. Most children under age 4 or 5, or so, are fast oxidizers. They require good quality fats and oils with each meal for optimum nutrition. Fast oxidizers gain weight on carbohydrates in excess, but they lose weight or just maintain their weight when they eat plenty of quality fats and oils.
The best quality fats and oils for young children include breast milk until about age 3 or even 4, meat fat, eggs, chicken fat and skin, and some olive oil or a little of other vegetable oils. Raw cream or raw milk is also very good for most children, unless they are allergic to dairy products. Coconut oil in small quantities is also okay, but not more than once or twice per week.
Eggs are an excellent food for most children, unless they have a sensitivity to them – or to any of the recommended foods in this article. Meats are excellent for children today, especially lamb, a little beef and dark meat chicken and turkey. Other meats are not good, such as pork, ham, bacon and other pig products. These often contain parasites that can infect the brains of children causing many problems.
Other quality fats, though not quite as good, include almond butter, other nut butters and even a little peanut butter. The problem with most peanut butter is it can be moldy and thus not as healthful. Completely avoid any that is made with hydrogenated vegetable oils such as Skippy, Jiff and perhaps other commercial brands.
Some blue corn chips provide good vegetable oils in some cases and the sea salt they contain is fine as well. Just donŐt overdo on these. One bag per week is best for children.
Other fats that are good are from butter and raw or organic dairy products. Avoid low-fat dairy products for fast oxidizing children as they can cause weight gain.
Fat and oils to avoid: all hydrogenated oils, all refined fats such as trans fats found in cakes, cookies, pastries and other baked goods that are prepared in restaurants and food stores. Also avoid most deep fried foods such as French fries, deep fried shrimp and more. Seafood, in general, has excellent fats in it, but also has too much toxic metals, so eat these sparingly or not at all.
Slow Oxidizers. Older children are often slow oxidizers. We recommend a hair mineral analysis to determine oneŐs oxidation rate. The programs based on the test are also superb to help any child lose weight by improving his or other glandular function.
Plus we can design a diet and lifestyle program much better with this simple, non-invasive, painless test. Even babies can be tested easily with excellent results.
Slow oxidizers need protein several times daily and preferably five times a day in small meals or perhaps a snack or two. If they do not have enough protein, they usually crave sweets and/or starches. This is sure to cause weight gain in many children. So if you suspect slow oxidation in a child, which most over the age of five are, then give them protein snacks and meals.
Good proteins for children are meats of all kinds except pork and ham. All pig products may be contaminated with parasite cysts, even if well cooked. Other excellent proteins are eggs, plain and preferably whole milk and raw, certified yogurt or cheeses. Avoid processed cheese or Ňcheese foodÓ. These are poor quality cheeses. Milk has too little protein to count as a protein food. However, if your child loves milk, if possible feed him or her only whole milk that is raw and certified. Goat milk and goat products are often a little better than cow milk products if you can find them.
Other good proteins are almond and other nut butters, but only in moderation. Peanuts, almonds and other nuts may be natural foods, but they are not easy to digest and peanuts are often moldy. Avoid these. However, a little nut butter on a cracker or piece of celery or carrot is fine as a snack, perhaps.
An interesting meal that many children love is a bag or perhaps a half bag of frozen peas or frozen green beans. Just place in a little boiling water and they are ready in 5 minutes or so. These are tasty and nutritious. Eat them yourself with your child to help him or her realize they are good foods.
In contrast, dried beans like pintos, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, black beans and others are far more starchy and not as good as some fresh peas.
Most soy products are not good quality and are best limited or avoided altogether although they contain protein. Avoid soy milk, soy vegetable proteins in Hamburger Helper and other products, and soy powders. A little tempeh or tofu are okay, but they are lower qualities proteins compared to meats, eggs, poultry and high quality certified raw dairy products.
Another source of protein are smoothies made with protein powders or raw eggs. We donŐt like these nearly as much as whole foods. The only time to include smoothies in a childŐs diet is if this is the only way to force a child to eat some protein. Then one per day is okay, and make sure it is not too sweet. Egg or whey protein powder can be used, but only in this case.
Other so-called foods such as spirulina, which has some protein, is not recommended as it is hard on the liver in our experience. Food bars are not as good, even if high-protein, as most contain too much sugar or other sweeteners. If this is the best one can do, they are fine and especially if one shops to find one that is less sweet and more nutritious.
MEALS FOR CHILDREN
Breakfast: This is the most important meal for most children. Do not skip it for lack of time or even if the child is not hungry. Try to have something substantial like eggs, chicken left-overs, vegetable juice such as carrot juice or another high-quality meal. Try to avoid just cold cereal and milk, especially nut milk or soy milk.
Use only whole milk with children who wish to lose weight. Skim or 2% milk, strange as it sounds, may cause more weight gain. This has to do with the chemistry of milk, which is quite complex. The calories often matter less than the quality of the milk. Also, adequate high quality fats and oils in the diet are needed by most children.
Remember, Skipping meals causes weight gain in most cases. The body goes into a survival mode and begins to hold on to weight even more. This applies to adults and children, in particular. Children are so malnourished today even though they live on flour products that the body holds on to whatever it can get. This is not optimal and to be avoided.
Instead of sugared cereals, donuts or soda pop, feed children eggs, preferably soft-boiled, poached or scrambled. Fried eggs or hard-boiled are harder to digest.
Also excellent are butter, whole goat or whole cowŐs dairy products, preferably organically grown. Some whole-grain cereals are okay, especially with butter or cream on them.
Simple meals are best with only one or two foods. Avoid complex meals, gourmet meals and hot spicy foods as much as possible. These are all just bad modern eating habits.
Several soft-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs, all alone, is excellent, for example. Add a little non-wheat toast or corn chips if needed. Wheat is a weight-gain food and often an allergic food today. Everyone should avoid it, and particularly children.
Lunches. Vegetables and meats should be the basis for lunch and supper. All vegetables are fine. The best are often roots due to their superior nutrition, even if they are starchy. Most are sweet, which helps with children. Rutabagas, turnips and others are acquired tastes, so introduce them slowly with some steamed carrots mixed in, for example.
Meats that are healthful and natural are superb for children. Natural chicken or turkey sausage and turkey bacon are also fine if they have no pig products in them at all. Be careful with sausage as pig intestines are often used as casing or wrapping for the sausage. Products from pigs often contain parasites, even if cooked. I know this is contrary to what many believe, but beware and preferably avoid all pig products.
Instead of pastries, shakes, burgers and fries, offer meat sandwiches on whole-grain breads, chefs salads, meat soups on cold days, steamed vegetables, and nuts or nut butter on toast or blue or yellow organic corn chips. Raw carrots are also fine for snacks, as are frozen peas, nuts or seeds.
Supper. Have less bread, pasta, fruit, ice cream and potatoes. Always have several cooked vegetables or a vegetable soup, and a protein food such as meat, poultry, a little small fish once a week perhaps, cheese or yogurt. Yogurt should be organic if possible. This is better than a glass of milk, which is an alternative.
Again, keep meals very simple and non-spicy if possible. Use simple toppings such as almond butter or peanut butter sauce made by adding a little water to nut butter. A little tomato sauce is okay, but tomato, potato, eggplant and all peppers are nightshades and are less recommended.
Instead of soda pop and other sweet drinks, try lemon in water, non-caffeinated teas or very diluted fruit juices. Most juices provide much, much more sugar than is best for children. Water, of course, is also fine. Drink spring or distilled water, preferably.
NUTRITIONAL BALANCING PROGRAMS
Many children have complex deficiencies, toxic conditions and severe metabolic imbalances. Simply eating well and taking a multivitamin will not correct these imbalances. Many children benefit greatly from a scientifically-designed nutrition program aimed at correcting deeper nutritional imbalances. These programs are based on a properly performed and properly interpreted hair tissue mineral analysis.
Several years of taking supplements and eating correctly may be required. However, the rewards are great, including better school performance, beautiful skin, improved athletic ability, fewer colds and much more.
Children often require few supplements. These can be ground up, mixed with food or blended in a drink if one does not swallow pills. Most children respond quickly and do extremely well on nutritional balancing programs.
These programs can help a lot with weight loss, especially if the practitioner will modify the programs in accordance with our newer instructions. These are in other articles on this website, and specifically discussed in an article entitled, Program Modifications.
METABOLIC CAUSES FOR WEIGHT GAIN IN CHILDREN
The following are more involved, but can definitely contribute to weight problems in children. Among the most common are:
1. Thyroid Problems. Minerals such as fluorides, chlorine in drinking water and other sources, iodine deficiency and many other depress or interfere with the activity of the thyroid gland. This is an important source of weight gain, especially in older children. Kelp, along with a regular nutritional balancing program, will help some overweight children as a result.
2. Pituitary Problems. Fluorides, chlorine and bromines from bleached white flour products, and many other toxic minerals interfere with the activity of the pituitary gland. This is an indirect way to affect the thyroid and adrenal glands and is another important cause of obesity in children and especially adults.
3. Stimulants Burn Out The Glands. Stimulants in the diet such as caffeine, chocolate and others upset normal metabolism and can lead to obesity.
Mercury and other toxic metals stimulate the thyroid for a while. This may seem to be fine, but eventually it causes dissolution of the body as it damages all organs and systems. This can give rise to hundreds of problems, including weight gain.
Toxic metals and chemicals are harmful in hundreds of ways, in fact. Most are very subtle. All can be removed from childrenŐs bodies, often quite easily, with a nutritional balancing program. We do not recommend intravenous chelation therapy for children, as it can be dangerous and is not needed except perhaps in rare and difficult cases.
Toxic Chemicals. Food additives often contain substances to enhance appetite. See our articles on MSG and Aspartame and artificial sweeteners. These are poisons for children. They cause multiple problems including weight gain, depression, anxiety and many more.
Avoid all artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and other classes of food addtives if you want healthy children. It is harder, but well worth the effort.
Of course, food additives can also interfere with thyroid and pituitary gland activity. They can also interfere with cell transport, so that the body accumulates toxins in the cells and weight loss is impaired for this reason.
Still others affect the DNA and protein synthesis, harming the bodyŐs ability to defend itself against all sorts of illnesses. This, too, can contribute to weight gain in children.
When the body is attacked by germs of any kind, it must defend itself by removing the offending organisms or bad tissue as fast as possible. If the body is weakened by toxic chemicals or toxic metals, or by nutrient deficiencies, it cannot respond fast enough. As a result, the infection stays in the body. This weakens the body further.
As this process continues, toxic material builds up that causes weight to be retained, often to dilute toxic organisms. This causes a pasty look in many children today. It will go away as children eat better and become healthier. If your child has this pasty look, it could be anemia, but it also could just be toxin accumulation in your dear young one.
Nutrient Deficiencies. These, of course, contribute to impaired thyroid and adrenal activity, impaired transport of nutrients and toxins in and out of the cells, and much more. Nutrient deficiencies also cause people to overeat in the attempt to nourish themselves. All this and much more can cause weight gain.
SPECIFIC NUTRIENTS AND WEIGHT GAIN
Minerals. Manganese, zinc, chromium and other minerals are absolutely needed for sugar metabolism. When deficient, which is almost always the case, the insulin mechanism and proper sugar metabolism are severely compromised. Thus the child craves sweets or starches.
These problems often begin while the child is still inside its motherŐs womb. If a mother is severely deficient in these elements, the child is born with a deficient level of the mineral. This is why child-bearing and pre-natal care are such critical situations that deserve much more nutritional attention than they are given today by the medical profession.
Certain other trace minerals such as iodine, bromine and others are important for thyroid activity, pituitary gland activity and other glandular processes connected with proper weight. Iodine is deficient in most children thanks to the use of chlorine in the water, chlorinated and brominated baked goods and white flour, in particular, and fluoridated water.
These chemicals induce iodine deficiency in most Americans today. Other trace mineral deficiencies are also rampant and can only be corrected with proper diets and nutritional supplements such as kelp, dulse and others. Beware of other supplements, however, such as earth mineral deposits that can be easily contaminated with toxic metals.
Vitamins. B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, C, E, K and others as well are also vital for the metabolism of sugars and other foods. Thus deficiencies of vitamins, as well as of minerals, can cause obesity most easily.
A Need For Supplements. Most of the worldŐs soil is deficient in minerals. Hybrid crops and modern industrial agriculture grow far more food on the same piece of land, reducing the mineral content of the food even further.
Refining of food just makes this problem all the more serious. Thus, supplements are required if children are to be healthy.
I will state this clearly once again. The idea that a child, who is eating ŇnormalÓ healthy food can get all his or her nutrients from it is incorrect. Children need supplementation as much or more as do adults. It will make quite a difference. Children do not need extensive supplements in many cases. However, they will benefit tremendously from a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement or a few kelp capsules daily. Kelp tablets are too small to be as useful, as one needs to take a dozen or more daily for the same amount of material as is found in 2 or 3 capsules.
Some children also require digestive help, although this is hard to give because these supplements tend to taste bitter. Switching to sea salt also adds minerals to the diet.
Weight gain is a common symptom of food allergy or sensitivity. The most common allergic foods include wheat and commercial cowŐs milk products. These foods are very hybridized today. This means they have been greatly altered so they are much less healthful than the original product 100 years ago.
I recommend all children avoid these foods, although some butter is fine. Organic cows dairy is also better for most children. Goat milk products are also much better, especially for young children.
For substitutes, I do not recommend soy milk because soy contains thyroid inhibitors and enzyme inhibitors. Often it is also sweetened, which is not helpful. Almond milk is better if organic cowŐs milk or raw milk are not available. Today, raw dairy products are available through the internet and are much better than any pasteurized and homogenized products.
Spelt is a close relative to wheat and is best avoided by most children, although it is better than wheat. Other whole grains in moderation are fine for most children. These include some oats in moderation, rye, barley, and brown rice and blue corn chips.
Some children, however, are sensitive to all gluten-containing food. In this case, they must avoid all the gluten grains, such as oats, rye and barley as well as wheat.
While it may not seem important, homogenized milk can cause weight gain in children and adults. In this product, the fat particles are broken down into very tiny droplets. This makes them stay in solution so they do not float to the top of the milk.
However, they are also much less digestible. Milk is a very complex food and mankind should not tinker with it for best health.
WHY SOME CHILDREN OVEREAT
Any of the following can cause a child to overeat:
1. Children who eat vitamin and mineral-deficient food may overeat because they are not nutritionally satisfied.
2. Exhausted children may get a temporary energy boost from food, especially salty, spicy food or caffeinated drinks. Often the boost is just temporary stimulation.
3. Some overeat because they have a distorted sense of taste due to zinc deficiency, or due to living on sweet, spicy or salty junk foods. These may artificially stimulate the appetite and upset the delicate mechanism that tells one when one is satiated.
4. Some children eat all day or eat too much in a frantic effort to maintain an adequate blood sugar level.
5. Many children have chronic intestinal yeast infections. Yeasts require carbohydrates to grow. If they are not fed, they begin to die which causes anxiety and other symptoms. One may crave food not for oneself, but to maintain the yeast in the intestines.
6. Some children eat out of nervousness or to allay anxiety or fears.
7. Eating in front of the television or computer, for example, can cause one to eat out of boredom or just unconscious over-eating.
8. Eating may be an escape from stress and tension, such as not feeling loved. This is common today when parents are too busy or too tired to spend enough time with their children.
CHANGING CHILDRENŐS DIETS
Correcting childrenŐs diets can be done with patience and persistence. Parents will need to experiment and must explain the benefits of better diets to children. These include having more energy, improved sports performance, better skin or getting better grades in school.
Of critical importance is that parents set a good example. Avoid tempting children with sweets or rewarding children with sweets and junk food when they are good. Be consistent and practice what you preach faithfully. If you must cheat, do it when the child is not around.
One must love oneŐs children enough to prepare meals at home and persist in the effort. Also, as a parent one must insist children eat good meals at home instead of eating out, eating on the run and other eating habits that are almost universal today. These include eating in moving cars, eating in the movie theatres and elsewhere.
No one is perfect and one cannot control a childŐs diet when away from home. This is just one reason why meals you prepare at home are essential today. In addition, however, one can teach children to make good food decisions wherever they are.
Avoid, as much as possible, embarrassing or forcing children to eat a certain way, as this usually causes resentment and more problems. Making it fun and including children in the process of shopping, meal planning and food preparation are most helpful. Most children enjoy helping in the kitchen and it is excellent quality time to share with a child, from very young to teenagers.
I am often shocked that parents have not shared how to cook with their children. No wonder the children, including young women, grow up with absolutely no nutritional knowledge or appreciation for food. European women are much better this way, though this is changing. Always insist that teens learn to cook and prepare basic healthy meals. It is easy to poach or soft boil some eggs, bake a chicken in the oven, steam or stir-fry vegetables and make other simple, but perfectly adequate and nutritious meals.
No child should graduate from high school or even junior high without this essential knowledge, but many do. The schools are no help and often instill bad habits in children. School lunch programs are still dreadful, in spite of efforts to clean things up.
Also, find out where your children are going to eat with their friends. Usually it is junk and should be stopped. Insist that everyone eat at your house if needed, or at least have your child eat first at home before going out. Parties are disasters and if possible have your child eat before going to parties.
EXERCISE AND WEIGHT LOSS
Children need some exercise, but strenuous workouts and long practices are not helpful for most of todayŐs tired out children. The best would be a nap after school followed by a short walk or bicycle ride, perhaps, assuming you have a quiet, safe street to bicycle upon.
Sitting in front of a computer all afternoon after sitting in a classroom is not as good.
Most of todayŐs exhausted children should not be playing strenuous sports, although some sports are better than others. Swimming is okay except for the chemicals and infections in most pool water. Better ones would be bicycling and even running or soccer.
Beware of sports coaches that push the children. Some children may lose some weight this way, but they can become extremely stressed due to fatigue or burnout of the adrenal glands. This is a very common issue today. Therefore, be careful with sports teams and other organized team sports.
To review, getting much more sleep and rest will go a long way toward weight loss, especially in young children. Most need fully 11 hours of sleep every single night.
Improving childrenŐs diets and eating habits is another simple way to lose weight naturally and healthfully. These two factors usually are enough to handle a weight issue.
However, if they are not, nutritional balancing is a must and works well for problems that are complex. Insisting on healthful food and eating habits is not easy with some children. Parents need an attitude that they will do this and will find a way. When that is the attitude, it usually will happen and a child will go along and benefit tremendously as a result.