Childhood obesity is on the rise, and it’s no secret that it’s becoming a serious danger and health threat here in the United States. This problem has even become a political issue since Michelle Obama began her campaign to end childhood obesity in America while her husband is in office.
Interestingly enough, recent research from PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, has uncovered some valuable new information into how your child’s diet can negatively influence his or her digestive health, potentially increasing the risk for chronic upset stomachs and obesity in children. This new insight will not be all that surprising to our Body Ecology community. And remember, what the study shows about children also applies to adults!
High fat, sugar, and protein diets that are low in fiber have been linked with the increase of non-infectious intestinal diseases worldwide, often resulting in chronic health problems and weight gain in children.
Within the PNAS study, it examined the gut microbiota in 15 healthy children living in urban Italy and 14 healthy children living in rural Burkina Faso, where they found that a shift in gut bacteria caused a dramatic increase in chronic childhood illness simply based upon each group's diet.
The children living in Burkina Faso (in West Africa) ate a diet mainly consisting of fiber, starches, and plants that was also low in protein and fat. This is a diet similar to early human civilizations, yet the diet of the children living in Italy was immensely different and more characteristic of the modern world: high protein, starch, sugar, and fat, but low in fiber.
These University of Florence researchers compared the intestinal bacteria between the two groups and found shocking differences from the time that the children started eating a solid diet after breast-feeding. The conclusion of the study confirmed that the diet plays a significant role over any other factors - like geography, ethnicity, sanitation, and even climate - in dictating the microbiota in the gut.
When the Italian children were compared to the children in Burkina Faso, it clearly demonstrated the unfortunate effects that eating protein, sugar, and high calorie foods has on the healthy bacteria in our gut.
Your child's diet could be causing chronic stomach problems and even obesity by disturbing their healthy gut bacteria!
The children in Burkina Faso ate nearly two times as much fiber as the Italian children, showing the impact that a high fiber diet makes in shaping gut microbiota. The gut microbiota found in the Italian children was an indicator for their risk of childhood obesity and intestinal disease since they mainly ate processed foods devoid of nutrients. (Surprising, isn’t it? The Italian diet is supposed to be “healthy”.)
Here at Body Ecology, we are all too familiar with the effects that a reduction in gut microbial richness has on the body due to an unhealthy diet. This is precisely why the Body Ecology Way of Life recommends drinking young coconut kefir, milk kefir, and probiotic liquids, like Innergy Biotic, to ensure that healthy and beneficial bacteria populate the intestines of your child. We also highly recommend eating hearty helpings of cultured vegetables with your meals to provide other strains of beneficial microflora, including the hardy bacteria called Plantarum.
Remember, too, that if this research is true for children, it is also true for their parents. As you know, obesity is similarly a serious epidemic for adults in urban cultures.
You should also note that the children in Burkina Faso ate a mostly plant-based diet. The Body Ecology Diet is 80% OR MORE plant foods. Yes, we have proteins on the diet, but these are eaten in smaller quantities – 20% of the meal. And, of course, we have fermented proteins in our Vitality SuperGreen drink: a green drink that is surprisingly quite popular with our children recovering from autism. Super Spirulina Plus is our newest protein powder and is made from 100% fermented proteins.
As you can see, children on the Body Ecology Diet will find it easy to stay healthy and very well nourished because they will digest their food much better. When they eat fermented foods, they will also not crave unhealthy carbs.You simply can’t ask a child who is addicted to sweets to just give up carbs cold turkey. Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented beverages is the first step to ending childhood obesity because it will help stop sugar addiction in its tracks.
If your children are addicted to the typical American diet that leaves them at risk for a number of health problems, making the switch is easier than you think!
First off, you can curb their addiction to sweet foods and too much fruit by trying Body Ecology’s Stevia Liquid Concentrate. This is a calorie free, natural sugar substitute that will not elevate blood sugar levels in your body. We highly recommend it for everyone, but especially for adults or children who have diabetes or struggle with obesity. You can find out more about the many benefits of Stevia here.
It is more important than you realize to cut back on junk food and process foods in your child’s diet, as was underscored by the study above, because junk food only works to upset the delicate balance of our inner ecosystem, which is essential to living a long and healthy life.
The good news is that all hope is not lost if your child is struggling with health problems as a result of a nutrient-deprived diet. Simple dietary changes inspired by the Body Ecology Way of Life make a dramatic difference in improving a child’s digestion and health so that they can grow up into a strong, healthy adult and enjoy a full and happy life!
Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa, www.pnas.org <http://www.pnas.org> , 2 August 2010
Healthy Youth! CDC.gov, 3 June 2010
Michelle Obama childhood obesity action plan; events around the nation, blogs.suntimes.com, 11 May 2010
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