Posted tagged ‘cholesterol’


November 20, 2008

Mark wants to know: “How many eggs can a child eat each day? Is there some kind of guideline about this?”

As far as I know, there is no established guideline on how many eggs children should eat. A few years ago egg consumption was discouraged for adults, because they do contain a lot of cholesterol. Since then it’s become more clear that it isn’t the cholesterol you eat that ends up in your blood, but rather the saturated fats and especially trans fats that cause increased “bad cholesterol.” So perhaps eggs got a bit of a bad rap, back there.

As an aside: dietary guidelines to reduce blood cholesterol in the 1990’s were over-simplified and woefully misguided. They discouraged all fats and eggs. It turns out that some fats can lower cholesterol (mono-unsaturated fats like olive oil and canola), and that actually not all kinds of cholesterol are bad for you (HDL-cholesterol prevents heart attacks!) The best dietary advice to help reduce your risk of coronary artery disease is to avoid saturated fats (usually, this means fats from animal sources) and avoid trans-fats (things that include the phrase “partially hydrogenated”, usually processed foods).

Eggs are cheap, and a great source of calories, protein, and iron. They’re easy to make a bunch of different ways (see below!), and if your child likes ‘em, I say let him enjoy.

Roy’s French Toast Sticks, with Special Dippin’ Sauce

Cut up challah bread into stick shapes, and soak them in scrambled eggs. If you scramble the eggs with a stick-blender, they soak into the bread more evenly and you don’t end up with trailing brown stringy ends that make kids turn up their noses. Fry ‘em up on all sides, rotating every few minutes, until tasty.

Special dippin’ sauce: melt a stick of butter in the microwave, and then add a good squirt of maple syrup. Stir in a little vanilla extract, a teeny pinch of salt, and maybe a dash of cinnamon. Whip it together with a fork.

Rocky Mountain Eggs

Take a slice of wheat bread, and tear out a circle in the middle, about 2 inches across. Eat the bread circle (it’s bad luck if you don’t, I’m told.) Melt butter in a non-stick fry pan, then fry the bread on one side. Flip it over, and crack an egg in the hole. Let it set for a few minutes, then flip it and cook on both sides back and forth for a total of maybe 5 more minutes.

Goodbye, whole milk

July 7, 2008

A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published in July 2008, calls for almost all children to consume low-fat rather than whole milk to reduce their long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.

Reduced-fat milk is preferred for all children starting at age 2. For babies younger than this, starting at age 1 year reduced-fat milk should be used if there are any risk factors: obesity or risk for obesity, or a strong family history of heart disease or increased cholesterol. Since just about every child growing up in the developed world is at risk for obesity, the guideline seems to apply to just about everyone.

The guideline doesn’t distinguish between low fat (2%), skim (0%), or other varieties of reduced-fat milk. I have been advocating skim milk for all children starting at age 2, and will now also suggest low fat (2%) milk starting at age 1 for all babies. The only exception would be in children who are truly underweight, who could benefit from the extra calories of whole milk.

The policy statement also covers new information about screening for cardiovascular risk by measuring cholesterol in children starting at age 2 who are at risk. You’ll be hearing more about this soon as these guidelines are distributed and discussed, but you heard it here first!