Cure Your Child With Food – Interview with Kelly Dorfman, author of Cure Your Child With Food. Kelly discusses healthy diets for children in her book and in our interview. I had the opportunity to interview leading nutritionist Kelly Dorfman. Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND authored the book Cure Your Child With Food? The Hidden Connections Between Food and Childhood Ailments. The book covers a variety of health, mood and behavior disorders associated with the diets of children.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – What sort of realistic and basic diet-changes do you recommend to improve a child’s overall health? Which healthy diets for children do you recommend?
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND – The easiest, most basic change a parent can make that immediately improves a child’s diet quality is to cut out the sweet drinks. Sweet drinks account for about 50% of the sugar content in the average child’s diet. Therefore, without cutting out a single cookie, you can reduce sugar by just getting rid of juice and juice drinks and replacing them with water.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – So many parents use the phrase “all sugared-up” when kids act hyper or have trouble paying attention, what other effects can sugar have on a child’s behavior?
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND – Ironically, it makes some children tired and grumpy. High sugar containing foods are often called “empty calorie foods”, which means they have plenty of calories but very few vital nutrients. For every sugar calorie a child consumes, that is one less calorie that can contain important nutrients for growth, thinking, immune function and energy. Therefore, some high sugar consuming children are run down and lack luster.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Does your book, Cure Your Child With Food? The Hidden Connections Between Food and Childhood Ailments, discuss high-fructose corn syrup? What effects does HFC have on children?
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND – I do! High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has a much higher fructose content than any regular food, including fruit and because it is so concentrated is more destabilizing to blood sugar levels. In addition, the production process is suspect. A 2009 Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy study found detectable levels of mercury in about 1/3 of products containing high fructose corn syrup. The process of making HFCS utilizes caustic soda. The old technology for making caustic soda requires mercury. The HFCS industry claims that 90% of the US derived HFCS does not use mercury in processing any more but since the food industry is global companies get HFCS from all over the place. Personally, I am not too excited about kids getting products using something called ‘caustic soda’ whether it contains mercury or not.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Your book discusses several behavioral issues associated with a child’s diet. What types of dietary changes should a parent make in trying to alter a child’s aggressive behavior or developmental learning delays for example?
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND – That is such a big question that it requires a book to answer it! Luckily, I wrote one with many specifics and ideas for addressing behavior and developmental issues. An easy place for any parent to start is to become aware of what the child with issues is eating. Many parents think their child is eating better than he/she actually is because their intention is to feed the child well but the child either is not eating what is offered, other caretakers like nannies or grandparents take over or the schedule is disrupted frequently.
Write down what the child is actually eating for several days. You might be shocked. Then ask yourself this basic question: How would I feel if I ate this diet? Would I be able to concentrate and feel energetic? If the answer is, “no” then your child’s behavior or development problem may have a basic nutrition component.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – We have an extensive Autism Diary section of our website and used Gluten-free and Dairy-free diets to help our son who was diagnosed with Aspberger’s. What are your thoughts on specialized diets to treat ASD symptoms?
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND: In my clinical experience, which involves seeing hundreds of children on the autism spectrum over a twenty year period, about 1/3 of children who start the GFCF or another specialized/individualized diet before age 3 or 4, end up losing the diagnosis. There may be other factors involved, such as appropriate therapy, however, the diet seems to make whatever therapy the parent is using work better. Another 1/3 of children on the diet improve in behavioral or other ways but are still on the spectrum. The last third appear not to be dietary responders. My colleagues who see these children have reported similar results.
Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND is a leading nutritionist with years of clinical experience and a mother of three. Her specialty is developing nutrition and lifestyle strategies to address complex health problems from autism to bone loss to rare genetic disorders. Physicians and other medical professionals refer cases to her for insight when traditional methods do not attain optimal results.