Food Problems in Children
When something goes wrong with a child, it makes good sense to look at the flow of substances through the mouth for the source of the problem. We need to look not only at the composition of the food, but also, and more importantly, at the interaction of the ingested materials with the child’s body. Adverse reactions to food are common and produce disturbances by a variety of mechanisms.
Food is the most intimate part of the environment because we ingest it. Food causes dysfunction and disease in many ways. Every cell in our body needs nutrients delivered every day and food is the origin of these nutrients. Wrong materials are also distributed to every cell. We can expect a bewildering array of adverse effects from any modern food supply. Children’s food tends to be the most processed and chemically contrived of any age group. Food manufacturers and vendors advertise their synthetic, processed foods directly to youngsters, and generally succeed in marketing their products. Boxed, canned and bottled foods, fast foods, snack foods, candies, chocolate bars, burgers, pizzas, and pop are usually included in the diets of our adolescents and many of our younger children.
To many parents, the food supplied by the supermarket, restaurants and fast food outlets is ”normal,” convenient and easy to feed to children. Normal is not normal, however. The apparent convenience of all this “normal” food may conceal years of illness, brain dysfunction, conflict and unnecessary suffering. Since there are multiple effects following ingestion of food, no explanation of food-related problems based on one mechanism alone will ever account for the multiplicity of effects reported and observed. Our best theories assume complex interactions; simultaneous immunological, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms. When something goes wrong with a child, it makes good sense to look at the flow of substances through the mouth for the source of the problem. We need to look not only at the composition of the food, but also, and more importantly, at the interaction of the ingested materials with the child’s body. Adverse reactions to food are common and produce disturbances by a variety of mechanisms.
Many parents are conscientious in following "good dietary advice", providing their children with whole grains, dairy products, vitamin supplements, and reducing intake of junk food. If this strategy fails, they are confused. They feel cheated when they discover the cause of their children’s suffering is their compliance with "good dietary advice". Highly esteemed whole grains, for example, may be the cause of serious digestive diseases, skin disease, lung disease, arthritis, mental and emotional disorders. Cow’s milk offers some nutrient benefits and dairy products taste good, but the proteins in cow’s milk are potent agents of disease in susceptible children. Soy bean products now appear in a large number of package and processed foods, often concealed, and may have a range of negative effects in susceptible children.
Normal is Abnormal
The main resistance to recognizing food causes of health, behavioral and learning problems in children is the belief that “normal food” cannot cause serious disease. Confusion and resistance arises whenever evidence accumulates that “normal foods” make some children chronically ill. The foods implicated in children’s illnesses are “normal” foods that almost everyone eats. Wheat, corn, cow’s milk, eggs and meat are high on the risk list. Most vegetables are low risk, beneficial foods. Most fruits are low risk beneficial foods. Rice is a relatively safe food.
Nourishing food has to interact with the body and many things can go wrong. Abnormal food-body interactions change the rules of nutrition. A cheese sandwich may be nourishing to one person and a toxic mix for another. A chocolate bar with peanuts may please one person and send another to the hospital in an ambulance. Daily milk or bread ingestion may be suitable for one person and cause chronic disease in another.
Some parents who resolved their children’s health problems by following the Alpha Nutrition Program, would return months later and ask; “When can he or she go off this diet?” or “When can he or she go back to a normal diet?” These are important questions because they reveal a preconception about “normal” that needs to be re-examined. One meaning of “normal” is that many people do it; that it is common. Most children eat bread and cheese. Most children eat hamburgers, pizzas and eat in restaurants. Most children eat junk food.
We want you to accept that common eating practices are not healthy. Common food choices actually produce disease. It is common to get obese, to develop diabetes, and cancer, to have heart attacks and strokes and all of these diseases involve the “normal” food supply. More immediate problems show up in children. A healthy newborn quickly develops serious disease if he or she is allergic to the cow’s milk proteins in the infant formula or in mother’s breast milk. An infant with phenylketonuria becomes mentally retarded if fed cow’s milk formula.
A better meaning for “normal” eating is that the results are positive, healthy; you don’t have symptoms on a regular basis. You don’t get sicker as the years go by. You don’t develop serious disease from the foods you are eating.
For years, official food rules suggest that children eat from the four food groups: milk, eggs, meat, and whole grain cereals as staple foods. Boxed cereal and milk is a common breakfast. The cereal has been nutritionally fortified, and so has the milk; nutrient intake may be satisfactory by nutrient accounting, but what about the impact of the food on the child as a whole? We have found that milk and wheat allergy is common in children and may cause both physical symptoms and contribute to learning and behavioral problems. A peanut butter-jam sandwich and a carton of milk must be the most common school lunch, followed by the most common afternoon symptoms - flushing, congestion, fatigue, irritability and inability to concentrate.