Children are exposed to major health problems from their food supply. In affluent countries, the children's food supply 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 all form the food vocabulary of our adolescents and many of our younger children.
Some problems, such as food-borne infection, insufficient food and malnutrition, are painfully obvious in third world countries but also occur closer to home because of poverty, ignorance, and neglect. Other food problems are less obvious and may not be recognized; these include major, pervasive biological disturbances from inappropriate food choices, food excesses, nutrient deficiencies, food allergy, and chemical toxicity from food additives and contaminants. Children of poor families with limited food choices are more obviously at risk of malnutrition but children of more affluent families may also suffer malnutrition in the form of wrong food choices, caloric excess, nutrient disproportion and even vitamin mineral deficiencies when packaged and processed food replaces real food.
Problems with Common Food Rules
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?
The Unique Child
In theory, all children should be treated equally, but all children are not created equally. Nourishing food has to interact with each person’s unique metabolism and reactivity. Many things can go wrong. Abnormal food-body interactions change the rules of nutrition. A cheese sandwich may be nourishing to one child and a toxic mix for another. A chocolate bar with peanuts may please one child and send another to the hospital in an ambulance. Daily milk or bread ingestion may be suitable for one child and cause chronic disease in another.
The premise of the Alpha Nutrition Program is that each child will have a best fit of safe, nourishing foods and nutrient supplements that permit a long and healthy life. Your best fit diet is likely to be different from other people’s best fit. Even close relatives will be different.
Two parents with three children should have five different diets to suit the individual needs of each unique individual. The idea of a “normal diet” suitable for the whole family is flawed. A better idea is that a small selection of best foods may serve the needs of the whole family, but beyond this “core diet” individual differences will become all important in the determination of who does well, who does poorly, and who develops a disease.
Biologists understand that the distribution of observable characteristic follow the distribution of genes in an in any given population. A "normal distribution" of any measured characteristic is a bell-shaped curve, with most scores in the middle range and a few at each end, or "tail," of the distribution.
The main idea is that all human characteristics are distributed and, no matter what human feature you are considering, you will find some individuals with more and some with less. When you accumulate sufficient data and do the appropriate statistics, you will have an idea about the distribution of the feature and an indirect understanding of the genetic and environmental determinants of that feature.
Food Allergy is Common
During the first year of life, the infant diet is the most powerful determinant of the growth and development of the child and food allergies are the most common health problem. Many studies show that breast feeding is best and that the feeding of solid foods is best delayed 4 to 6 months to reduce the risk of food allergy. Food allergy in infancy is expressed as crying, colic, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, eczema and cold-like respiratory congestion. Some infants with food allergies become seriously ill and fail to thrive unless their allergy is recognized and corrected. Infants who develop a food allergy in their first year may "outgrow" the first effects but tend to grow into children with more pervasive health, behavior and learning problems unless their diet is properly managed.
We have found that milk and wheat allergy are common in children of all ages, Food allergy causes physical symptoms and also contributes to learning and behavioral problems. A peanut butter and jam sandwich and a carton of milk is a common school lunch, followed by the most common afternoon symptoms - flushing, congestion, fatigue, irritability and the inability to concentrate.
There are many ways for food problems to interfere with a child's normal functioning and to promote disease. We assume that several problems interact in a complex manner to produce the symptoms and dysfunction that we seek to remedy. It is always necessary, therefore, to correct nutritional problems by complete diet revision
Using the Alpha Nutrition Program
See Feeding Children by Stephen Gislason MD