Share this Image On Your Site
Puberty and eating healthily
Puberty is another growth phase. In fact, a child may grow "suddenly" in spurts rather than gradually increase in height and weight. During and after puberty, a teenager will continue to need high-protein and high-fat foods.
Puberty is also a time when young people start to gain independence and no longer eat only the foods provided by their parents, It is important, therefore, to train their taste buds so that they will not be attracted to "junk" foods that are high in sugar (including fructose), salt, trans fats, rancid fats and artificial chemical flavours.
Train the tastebuds
Many parents in modern urban societies feel it is inevitable for children to be attracted to "junk" foods. Not so. In societies where children grow up on more natural foods, many young people do not enjoy modern foods like hamburgers, French fries and soda drinks. They actually prefer fresh vegetables! If children develop a liking for junk foods, it is because their parents had introduced them to such foods in the first place.
Changes in puberty patterns because of the food we eat
On the subject of puberty, a growing problem is that of girls attaining puberty at an early age, known as precocious puberty. In extreme cases, girls as young as three years have developed breasts and /or pubic hair. The flipside of this problem is that some boys are reaching puberty at a later age, showing symptoms of underdeveloped male organs and displaying feminine traits.
Several factors contribute to this:
- Exposure to synthetic growth hormones in meat and milk products;
- Prolonged and excessive consumption of milk and milk products;
- Exposure to food chemicals and environmental pollutants that are estrogenic hormone disruptors;
- Popularity of soy products, as soy contains high levels of phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals that mimic the action of the female hormone, estrogen.
Other nutrients that are needed
Finally, teenagers continue to need cholesterol and other sterol-rich foods to enrich their hormonal levels in preparation for the reproduction phase in adulthood. So their diets should comprise an adequate amount of healthy foods that contain cholesterol and complete proteins, like egg, fish, meat and organ meat.
This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.