If you have fussy eaters you are probably aware of, and have tried, all of the tricks and tested methods to get your kids eating a wider range of foods. These include:
Have you tried all the above but do not seem to be making much progress? There may be a reason why your child is being awkward with food. This is something that we can look into at clinic as there may be an underlying physical or biochemical reason why.
Here are some of the avenues that may be worth investigating:
Zinc Deficiency. Zinc is an important mineral in the growth and development of children. Zinc deficiency is commonly linked with changes in appetite, taste and smell, food cravings for sweet and salty foods. 1Nuts, seeds, meat are all great sources of zinc. A broad spectrum children’s multi vitamin contains will cover off any shortfalls. We recommend Pure Encapsulations Junior Nutrients or Nature’s Plus Gold Children’s Multi vitamins.
2. Digestive Issues. Your child may associate certain foods with pain, discomfort, bloating and as a result be less inclined to eat them in their diets. This may be linked to:
Gut bacteria. Low gut bacterial diversity has been associated with an increased preference for sweet and salty foods (2).
Low stomach acid. This can cause pain and bloating. Protein rich foods take longer to digest and your child may associate these types of food with digestive discomfort and therefore be reluctant to eat them (3).
Physical digestion. If your child experiences reflux or colic after eating, they may associate that food with their physical symptoms.
3. Food Intolerances. Chances are if your child is intolerant to a certain food, they will not be digesting this food well which can lead to pain, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation (4). Food particles can escape out of the digestive tract and into the blood stream promoting an immune response which is commonly referred to in nutrition circles as ‘leaky gut’. Often we find it’s the foods that we eat the most of that are causing this immune response and subsequent digestive discomfort. Elimination diets and food intolerance testing can be carried out in clinic if you suspect that your child may be reacting to certain foods.
4. Autism Spectrum Disorders. Many ASD children are often picky eaters. Eating is a multi-sensory experience and problems arise as a very real physical and neurological responses on the part of the child. Several studies suggest that autistic children may have an impaired gut barrier function with elevated intestinal permeability (5).
There are many different dietary approaches that may help your child and finding the right one for them is crucial. If you are concerned about your child’s eating patterns we would love to help. Please contact The Nourished Tribe here to see how we can help you and your child further.
Roohani N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R, Schulin R. (2013) Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences : The Official Journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences18(2):144-157.
Flint HJ, Scott KP, Duncan SH, Louis P, Forano (2012) E. Microbial degradation of complex carbohydrates in the gut. Gut Microbes. 3(4):289-306.
Hunt RH, Camilleri M, Crowe SE, et al. (2015).The stomach in health and disease. Gut. 64(10):1650-1668.
Bischoff SC, Barbara G, Buurman W, et al. (2014) Intestinal permeability – a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC Gastroenterology. 14:189.
De Magistris L, Picardi A, Siniscalco D, et al. (2013) Antibodies against Food Antigens in Patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. BioMed Research International.729349.