Facts and Fads About Teenage Diet

Fad:
Dairy products are high in fat and should be avoided.

Fact:
Avoiding milk and other dairy products is very, very dangerous. The dairy group is the main source of calcium, which is part of the bone composition. During puberty, calcium is necessary in the blood stream, and is necessary for optimal bone health.

If a teen does not ingest enough calcium, the body will take calcium from the bones and use them in the bloodstream, decreasing the bone density over time.
Dairy products are not necessarily fattening like Skim milk and low-fat yogurt.

Fad:
If extra protein is ingested, more muscles will be developed.

Fact:
Extra protein is good for muscle development. When a person does weight training, the muscles need more protein to build themselves up. But, the ingestion of the protein by itself does nothing. And if excess protein is ingested, it will be deposited as fat. The more protein one eats, the more he/she will have to work out to make use of it. Otherwise, it will lead to obesity.

Fad:
A vegetarian would be much more healthy than a meat-eating individual, with lower body fat, caloric intake, and cholesterol.

Fact:
Vegetarian diets, which contain absolutely no animal products, are very low in vitamin B12 and, unless carefully planned, may be deficient in vitamin B6, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Strict macrobiotic diets, which include everything except grains, are extremely hazardous. More moderate vegetarian diets that include milk and eggs and perhaps fish, and/or poultry, meet the nutritional needs of growing teenagers if carefully planned. This is why many adolescents that are vegetarians are also anemic.

Fad:
Since retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A, is very often prescribed as a topical treatment for acne, a quicker way to cure acne is to ingest large quantities of vitamin A supplement.

Fact:
Any substance is toxic in large amounts, and if one ingests too much vitamin A, he/she may suffer poisoning. Vitamin A is prescribed as a topical treatment, a cream or gel that is rubbed onto the acne pimples. An adequate amount of vitamin A is necessary in food, but increasing the amount may lead to poisoning.

Fad:
It is not a problem to overeat and become fat during puberty, because adolescents grow into their weight.

Fact:
Adolescents only grow into their weight before their main growth spurt. If they are past their main growth spurt, they will not grow into their weight. If a 15 year-old, almost fully developed, decides that he’ll just grow into his weight, and eats heavily, he’ll become obese.

During adolescence, the number of adipose cells, which hold fat, become set in stone. If you have five trillion cells while maturing, you will have five trillion for the rest of your life. Adolescence is not a good time to put on weight.

Fad:
Fasting is a quick way to lose weight.

Fact:
There are nutrient requirements that must be met, and while fasting for too long, the body will just shut down. Fasting would result in weight loss, but muscle would be burned as well as fat, and muscle is much harder to develop than fat. The only true way to lose weight, without harming the body, is to combine a mild diet with adequate exercise.

Fad:
Overweight people are overweight because they eat a lot.

Fact:
This is generally true, but there are many, many exceptions. Obese teens may actually have a LOWER caloric intake than their thin counterparts. A common occurrence is the cycle of obesity. When teens are obese, they are often embarrassed of their appearance and tire easily, so they exercise much less than normal teens. Even if their caloric intake is very low, they still would not lose any weight. Some overweight teens do eat little, but because they do not exercise at all, they remain obese.

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