By : Komal Thakur (Pharmacist, Naturopath, Health & Fitness Enthusiast)
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Protein requirement in Kids- How much is too much?

 

It is always debatable as to what is right and what is wrong when it comes to health supplements. Every day there is a new article on what to consume and what not to. Especially when it comes to children, parents are extra cautious and aware of what they are feeding the child and with all this knowledge available at the click of a button, it becomes even more difficult to decide. If you thought supplements were only for adults, well think again. The market for kids supplement is not only booming but thriving with almost 15% growth YOY.

 

I want to talk about my experience with children supplements when I was travelling in Germany, I am mentioning a very specific example here because usually German standards are considered to be extremely high and hence all the products are perceived to be safe. Every single general store or food mart that I visited had a huge children’s section. Can you imagine two huge aisles full of foods and food supplements specially dedicated to children? More than a thousand products to choose from, with sugar free chocolates and sugar free protein bars, energy bars, flavored medicines, hundred different flavors of tooth pastes, popcorn especially for kids, I mean come on! Every product you can imagine was available as a kiddie version, there was a cereal aisle dedicated to kids. My point being, the nutritional value for every product was different. The composition for every product was different. If an adult consumes a product from this section, the daily nutritional requirement will not be met. This section and the products were specifically designed to meet the nutritional requirements of kids, segregated age wise.

 

In India, this boom is just in its early stages. Designing specific products is an expensive affair, not just for the FMCG companies but also for the consumers, because in India we believe in one size fits all. We also greatly believe in everything made at home is best for the kid and which is absolutely true. One thing to be noted however is that one size cannot fit all when it comes to food, because the nutritional requirements are different for kids when compared to adults.

 

Protein is a crucial macronutrient and as a general rule, 30% of your kids diet should be composed of protein. 70% is carbohydrates, fats and vitamins and minerals, all of which need to be a part of a healthy diet. Ideally this requirement should come from the food that is consumed. Now in US , EU and all the other countries, usually supplementation in kids is absolutely not needed because more than necessary requirement is attained from the food they eat, due to the dietary habits. In most countries, the diet is mostly non-vegetarian diet. A lot of attention is also paid on vegetables and fruits in the diet. In India, almost 60% of the population is vegetarian and for this reason sometimes the protein requirement is not met.

 

Depending on the age, the protein requirement varies in kids. From 1 to 3 years almost 13 grams of protein is needed, 4 to8 years-19 grams, 9 to13 years-34 grams. Beyond this in teenage girls almost 46 grams is needed and in boys almost 52 grams is needed. This is general information that is widely published everywhere. If your child is an athlete or a sports enthusiast, a little more protein will do them good. Anything beyond this is unnecessary.

 

What are the best sources of proteins for the kids?

There are a lot of things which have been spoken about in my earlier articles like paneer, cheese, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, chick peas and other pulses, fish, read meat, etc. If we have to combine the ingredients, maybe an Omelette with spinach and mushrooms, a whole wheat pasta with loads of vegetables, a whole wheat cheese pizza, could be a good protein alternative for the kids. Since the kids need to grow constantly internally and externally, protein has to be kept in check.

 

When is supplementation essential?

 1. When your child is underweight- Protein is essential for muscle gain and mass gain. When your child is underweight, it’s possible the child’s growth will be hindered. Supplementation hence becomes essential for healthy and optimum growth.

 2. When your child is a picky eater- When enough protein is not being consumed from the diet, it is recommended that a protein supplement be added. Usually the protein powder can be added to smoothies and juices, hence it’s willing consumed by the child.

 3. When your child has a metabolic condition- Often in a metabolic condition when your child is unable to digest the nutrients, this causes the nutrients to just go waste, extra supplementation is needed.

 

<pdata-aos="fade-up" data-aos-delay="300" data-aos-offset="0">When it comes to children, safety is the first priority and concern for every parent. Undoubtedly, GRD-The superior protein is the protein of choice for 90% of the parents for their kids. GRD has come up with variants that will be absolutely loved by the kids, especially the Chocolate and Vanilla. GRD Diskettes which are specially formulated for kids as wholesome protein snack, are an excellent add on and are available in Milk, Chocolate & Vanilla flavor.

 

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