Updated: 01/23/2017 3:51 PM | Print Story |  Email

Old School v. New School Nutrition

The 80s and 90s were all about tight rolled jeans, scrunchies and windbreaker swishy suits. They were also known as the *low-fat* years which researchers say subsequently created an obesity epidemic. But what we know now, more than 20-years later, is that fat isn't all that bad. Registered dietitian and founder of Foodwise Consulting, Katie Costello, stopped by with a lesson in old school versus new school nutrition.

  1. Fat

• Old School: Fat-free products were everywhere in the 80’s and 90’s. The food industry created thousands of low-fat products (think SnackWells) leading consumers to think they were making healthier choices, when these products were actually filled with simple carbohydrates and other fillers.

• New School: Nowadays, we know that fat isn’t the “bad guy” we once thought it was, and that sugar is actually more harmful to overall health than fat. Especially for kids, fat is critical in brain development. Healthy unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, help build a protective layer around neurons in the brain known as the myelin sheath. Children between 12 and 24 months should be drinking whole milk, which contains about 3.5% fat, if they can tolerate dairy. Other sources of healthy fats include avocados, olive and sunflower oil, nuts and seeds.

  1. Juice

• Old School: Kids love juice and if it’s made from fruit, it’s healthy… right? Juice boxes, Sunny Delight, Capri Sun... the choices were endless. Even putting juice in baby’s bottle wasn’t uncommon.

• New School: Increasingly, we understand that even 100% juice doesn’t have the same nutritional value as whole fruit. The recommended serving size of juice for kids is just 4-6 oz. per day! Because fruit juice lacks fiber that a whole fruit has, the body treats juice just like any other sugar-sweetened beverage or soda, and in excess it can lead to dental cavities or extra weight gain. So it’s best to limit juice to an occasional treat.

  1. Food Allergies

• Old School: Severe food allergies, until recently, were relatively rare. No one knows exactly why food allergies have become so common, but it’s estimated that food allergies affect between 4 and 6% of American children

• New School: Updated guidelines from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) have recently come out regarding when to introduce “allergenic” foods to your children. Parents used to be advised to wait until after 12 months to introduce “highly allergenic foods” like whole egg, soy and peanuts. But now, the evidence suggests that that may actually increase the likelihood of developing allergies. So go ahead and introduce small amounts of egg, nuts and wheat as soon as you would normally introduce solid foods (around 6 months of age). But still wait until after 12 months to introduce whole cow’s milk and honey.