No cow’s milk = shorter height in youth?

Elimination diets, especially among health-savvy adults, are all the rage – especially when there is concern of inflammation following consumption. Dairy and gluten are the common offenders per many nutritionists and naturopathic practitioners. But what does the data show? Specifically among growing children- a subset of the population that is strengthening and fortifying new bone, developing robust tooth enamel, and avidly growing? A recent study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ‘found that each daily cup of non-cow’s milk consumed (in place of cow’s milk) was associated with 0.4 centimeters (0.15 inches) lower height than average for a child’s age’.

“We found that children who are consuming non-cow’…

Failure to Thrive

 A diagnosis of failure to thrive hurts – I have yet to meet a parent that doesn’t feel some sense of personal failure when this diagnosis is attached to their own child. As a medical student, you are taught to view failure to thrive as a generally nonorganic phenomenon – as in, not a condition which results from actual disease – more of a social issue – lack of appropriate nutritional intake, diluting formula to make it last longer, irregular meals and chaotic schedules, a problem with the parent-child relationship…

I still remember when my own child started to slip on her growth curve – I was expecting my third child in a matter of weeks and my daughter’s 18 month growth curve showed her slipping in weight, as well as height and head circumference. She was and is exceptionally bright, so development was on track, but her growth had stalled. My pediatrician and I discussed nutrition – specifically the protein and fat conten…

Evil sugar – how much is too much?

How bad is sugar really? It is such the trend today, similar to gluten, to carefully avoid sugar in our diets. But in growing children, when the greatest concern is sustained positive growth, even in the picky years, I’ve always felt that some sugar is better than no protein. The zero calorie alternative sweeteners raise their own concerns, and even a product like stevia, which is derived from a plant may not be a perfect alternative to pure cane sugar, agave nectar or honey. Several studies have hypothesized that stevia may have mutagenic (or cancer-causing) effects. Furthermore, the FDA rejected stevia in the 1990s because of a study with stevia-fed mice that became infertile post-consumption. It is important to note that research on artificial sweeteners typically uses levels much greater than that which we would consume, and a lot of the negative data on stevia refers to the consumption of the unaltered, or crude, leaf. The highly purified form is …