Children on the LCHF Diet: Is it safe for kids to be Banting?

On this episode of The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we look at the concerns parents have and get advice from Prof. Noakes on precautions and he tells us things we should be aware of when introducing your kids to the Banting Diet.

Julia got in touch with us and she wanted to know if there are any precautions parents should take or things they should be aware of when introducing their kids to the Banting Diet?

How does changing to the Banting diet affect kids, and is Banting safe for her kids?

Prof Tim Noakes: That’s a great question, as you know I was reported to the Health Professions Council of South Africa for suggesting that you should wean your children onto the Banting diet.

By that I mean the green list in the Real Meal Revolution. I would encourage anyone to look at the green list and tell me what’s wrong with that food. It’s really good food for anyone of any age. So I don’t know where this criticism is coming from.
Fortunately, there’s a paper out this week, showing that children who are weaned onto meat, specifically they said meat and not other proteins coming in from cereals, for example.

Is Banting safe for kids?

They grew more, they were taller and they were less fat at the end of the study, which was a year or two. I found it very interesting, because we know that when cereals and grains were introduced into the food supply 12 000 years ago, humans got smaller, and we’ve only caught up now, can you believe it?

We’ve only got the same height now, more recently, that we were 12 000 years ago. Humans have been smaller for 12 000 years because we ate grains. We only caught up more recently for reasons that perhaps we don’t know. But, maybe it’s because we’ve added meat to the diet.

So, in my view, your problem is if you’re feeding children carbohydrates, and if you wean them onto carbohydrates at the age of six months, you need to go and look at what those substitute fake foods contain.

They contain enormous amounts of sugar and lots of carbohydrates, because those ingredients are cheap, and you can make the most profit out of that.
What does that do to your child? You’re providing a nutrient for which they have no need. They do not need all that carbohydrate, but they do need protein and they do need fat. If you cut protein and fat out of the diet, you risk their future health, particularly their brain growth, because it’s pretty clear that if you don’t feed children protein and fat when they’re growing, their brains may not develop as well as they should.

Are ‘conventional’ foods damaging our health?

So, if you’re eating a high carbohydrate diet, feeding children a high carbohydrate diet, there’s a real risk that they’re not getting enough protein and fat. That’s something that isn’t acknowledged.

The other problem is that if you feed them wheat, you’ve got a real risk that they will get Type 1 Diabetes, because it looks like that’s a wheat related disease.

Thirdly, you’ve got a real risk that that huge carbohydrate load will make them insulin resistant and fat, particularly if they’ve got a family history of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.

So there are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to feed your children high carbohydrate diets from a young age. And to me, the evidence is abundantly clear, but apparently not to too many of the senior dieticians who are teaching students in this country.

They believe that the carbohydrates are critical to human development, and I don’t see any evidence for it.

So I don’t see any risks of putting a child on a Banting diet, as long as the food comes from the green list in the Real Meal Revolution. Those are the healthy foods.

If the child got to choose from those foods and continues to grow normally and doesn’t lose weight (we don’t want to see that) and isn’t hungry, then my view is that they’re going be a lot healthier than if they were eating highly processed, high carbohydrate, high sugar foods, as is the norm for the children in our country, and probably in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

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