AAP Issues Policy On Low-Carbohydrate Diets in Children and Adolescents With or at Risk for Diabetes

21 Sept 2023 • The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against the use of low-carbohydrate diets for children and adolescents with or at risk of developing diabetes within a new clinical report that cites concerns over how overly restrictive dietary patterns may affect their health.The clinical report, “Low-Carbohydrate Diets in Children and Adolescent With or at Risk for Diabetes” urges families and physicians to focus on reducing children’s consumption of nutrient-poor processed snacks and sugary beverages. Instead, children and teens should continue to eat healthy carbs found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

Low-carbohydrate diets restrict consumption to less than the recommended 45%-65% of total daily calories from carbohydrate. Very low-carbohydrate diets allow 20-50 grams per day, while ketogenic diets generally allow less than 20 grams of carbohydrate per day. Families who choose for their children and adolescents to follow a very low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet should be monitored closely by a multidisciplinary team, the AAP states.

The AAP also recommends:

  • Children aged 4 to 18 years should get 10% to 30% of their total energy intake as protein to support normal growth and development. Another 25% to 35% of energy intake should come from fat, mostly from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and less than 10% from saturated fats. Carbohydrates then provide the remaining 45%-65% energy requirements, with the recommendation that not more than 10% of calories per day come from added sugars.
  • Most calories from carbohydrates should come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and dairy products.
  • Families of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, prediabetes or type 2 diabetes may be counseled to follow a healthy dietary pattern strategy and strive for 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity.
  • All pediatric patients with diabetes should be followed by a multidisciplinary diabetes care team, as well as their general pediatrician, with communication across disciplines. Dietary recommendations and support can be reinforced broadly.

Source: AAP | Read full story

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