Mum sparks angry debate over 11-year-old's 'keto diet' school lunch

A mum has sparked a debate online after she shared the keto lunch she makes for her 11-year-old daughter.

According to Healthline, a keto or ketogenic diet is a low carb, high-fat diet that ‘lowers blood sugar and insulin levels and shifts the body’s metabolism away from carbs and towards fat and ketones.’

The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis and when this happens, your body becomes extremely efficient at burning fat.

TikTok user Abby (@houseofketo) regularly shares keto recipes and updates on her page and has amassed over 500,000 followers.

However, she divided the opinions of viewers when she posted a clip of her daughter’s keto school lunch.

The meal featured a lettuce wrap with shredded chicken, coriander lime cream sauce and cheddar cheese.

Also included was a side of fruit (mostly berries) and some watermelon. Abby pointed out that watermelon was not a regular addition because ‘it has more carbs and sugar than we would normally eat.’

A hard boiled egg and more cheddar cheese were also added to the meal.

‘Our entire family eats this way, my five-year-old, our puppies and my husband,’ Abby concluded.

Since being posted the video has received over 7.9 million views, 1 million likes and a high volume of comments both criticising and praising the mum’s approach.

‘Why is an 11 year old keto?’ asked one concerned viewer.

‘Great that child is gonna likely develop disordered eating and clogged arteries,’ said another.

‘Why are you restricting the food for an 11-year-old? Is there actually some medical reason why you were doing this?’ commented a third.

Yet, some applauded the meal and saw it as a healthy attitude to eating.

#keto #lowcarb #lunchbox #bento #kidsfood

‘This food looks healthy, and it doesn’t sound like she is strict keto either. Strawberries and watermelons are generally not allowed,’ wrote one supporter.

‘If she would have never said keto you guys would be fine with it! It’s a healthy lunch! I would have loved that,’ argued another.

When asked why her child was on a diet, Abby addressed the question and the criticism in a subsequent video.

‘If your child isn’t on a diet, what’s wrong with you?’ she said.

‘Your child has to be on a diet. A diet is just food and drinks that you consistently consume – habitual nourishment. A diet is not synonymous with weight loss, a diet is not even synonymous with restriction.

‘Come on now, a lot of us have been on diets our entire life.’

So what does an expert think?

‘The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, appropriate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet that mimics the fasting state of the body and is proven beneficial in some brain diseases,’ nutritionist Ellie Busby tells metro.co.uk

‘If done right, with nutritionally dense foods, a variety of low-carbohydrate veggies and enough protein, a ketogenic diet is probably safe for most people. However, we don’t have a solid amount of long-term data because a fully ketogenic diet is hard to maintain and people don’t tend to follow it for long periods of time.’

Ellie explains that some studies have shown the diet (when properly implemented) can help treat certain conditions in children.

‘We do have lots of research showing that a properly-designed ketogenic diet can be an effective and safe treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in children,’ she says.

‘There are also preliminary studies suggesting it could improve symptoms of autism in some children. However, following a ketogenic diet long-term might slow height growth in children. Nevertheless, these side effects do not occur often.’

Ultimately, Ellie does not recommend putting a child on a keto diet when there is no medical need.

‘I rarely recommend a full ketogenic diet to an adult without a very good reason,’ she notes.

‘But an adult is free to make this choice. This diet can be very restrictive for a child and may impact their relationships outside their home.

‘However, in the end, it’s the parents’ choice and in this particular case, I can only comment on the lunch. The child was provided a variety of protein sources which is great. That’s very important on a ketogenic diet.

‘But I would like to have seen more healthy fats, like nuts, seeds and avocado, and veggies.’

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