Is sugar to blame for hyperactivity? Nutritional answers from an expert

Uncle Toby Live Chat FB

We all have questions regarding our own nutrition and that of our families. Are we getting enough protein? Does my child need a vitamin supplement? Is there such a thing as too much dairy? Behold, we give you the answers to these questions and more, thanks to leading nutritionist Anne-Marie Mackintosh and Uncle Tobys.

Last week nutritionist Anne-Marie Mackintosh joined Babyology readers for a live Facebook chat. There were dozens of great questions about health, diet and nutrition and we hope the information was helpful to those who got involved. If you happened to miss out or if you are looking for a recap, then check out the top questions and answers below.

In regards to your baby and toddler’s nutritional needs…

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Are toddler milks necessary for children over 12 months who are no longer breastfed?

Toddler milks are certainly an option as they contain additional vitamins and minerals which may help if your children are not having adequate dairy in their diets.

When starting solids, what are your recommendations in terms of the veggie to fruit ratio?

At this stage the ratio of fruits to veggies is not a big issue. It is about introducing a variety of tastes. Babies are naturally inclined to prefer sweet foods (fruit) but you can mix the two together, then gradually increase the amount of veggies.

When can I stop giving my children full cream milk and yoghurt and swap to the reduced fat option?

From the age of two years, it’s fine to begin introducing reduced fat and skim dairy products.

My toddler loves dairy. She is not a fussy eater at all but she always chooses cheese, yoghurt and milk over anything else. Could she be having too much dairy?

Young children require two to three servings of dairy foods a day – for example one cup of milk or ½ cup of yoghurt or 30 grams of cheese.

In regards to your older child’s nutritional needs…

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How do I ensure my son is getting enough vitamins? Should I use a supplement?

If your son is eating a variety of food from the five food groups, it is unlikely that he will need a vitamin supplement.

My four-year-old son is having a lot of over-the-top hyperactive behaviour and an out-of-control temper. If it is due to some foods, what sort of foods should I avoid giving him?

There is no evidence to link hyperactivity with foods. Often the behaviour is a result of other influences such as being overstimulated. As parents we often link sugar with hyperactivity at a birthday party but this could be the result of too much stimulation from games and kids.

How do I ensure my fussy vegetarian daughter gets enough iron and protein in her diet?

The richest sources of iron in plant foods include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, whole grain foods such as wholemeal bread, and legumes. I recommend a Vitamin C rich juice, fruit or veggie to accompany the meal as this can help absorb the iron. There are many ways to have a protein-rich diet without meat but it means including legumes, nuts, seeds and soy-based milk every day and sometimes at every meal.

In regards to choosing the right foods…

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What are the best pregnancy superfoods?

Protein, iron, folate, fibre – these are key nutrients that are required in additional amounts during pregnancy. Foods that are good sources of these include lean red meat and poultry for iron and protein, leafy green veggies for folate and whole grain breads and cereals for fibre. It is also important to be hydrated – water is your best friend.

Can you explain how the Health Star Rating system works? Can people compare a five star breakfast cereal and a five star packet of chips?

The HSR is a simple way to guide people to healthier food choices. The more stars, the healthier the choice. Uncle Tobys is one cereal company carrying the HSR on packages and they have the largest range of four star plus breakfast cereals in Australia. However, when using the HSR to compare foods, it is best to compare foods within the same category. It’s not a good idea to compare a breakfast choice with a snack choice, such as cereal and chips.

Regarding options for breakfast, are breakfast cereals healthy? I’ve seen so much lately about how much sugar they have.

Breakfast cereals are surprisingly healthy due to their wholegrain and fibre content. They are often fortified with vitamins and minerals like iron too. When served with milk they are a source of calcium, and provide protein.

People say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’m always in a rush in the morning. How important is it really?

Breakfast is an important meal to start the day as it kick starts the body, and refuels from the overnight fast. People who regularly eat breakfast especially, breakfast cereal, are more likely to have a nutritious diet, maintain a healthy weight and reduced the risk of chronic disease.

In regards to weight loss and health conditions…

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I am currently trying to lose weight but I’ve just starting running and noticed my weight loss has slowed. Is this normal?  

Weight loss goes through plateaus from time to time. Half a kilogram loss a week is a good amount. More than this, and it is often water loss. The key to weight loss and weight maintenance is a healthy diet plus exercise. With exercise, you may be changing your body composition so that you are losing body fat and either maintaining muscle or even increasing muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat!

What are the best foods to eat post workout if you are type 1 diabetic and trying to lose weight?

This depends upon what your blood glucose levels are and when you last had insulin. If your blood glucose sugar levels are low after exercising, you need carbs. If high, then you need to limit your carbs.

 What are the best foods/recipes for type 2 diabetes?

A diet for people with type 2 diabetes is no different from a healthy diet for everyone. We all should be following a diet that is low in saturated fat such as reduced fat dairy foods, lean cuts of meat/poultry, fish, along with whole grains, cereals, oats, and veggies. With diabetes, it is important to have regular meals throughout the day and not to skip meals. Also carb-rich foods are best spread evenly over the meals for best blood glucose control.

You can check out the full feed with additional answers through our Facebook page. Learn more about the Health Star Rating system and uncover the truth regarding some of your family’s favourites foods thanks to Uncle Tobys.

(This is a sponsored post for Uncle Tobys)

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