Children First: Valley Children's doctors debunk nutrition myths

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Doctors at Valley Children's Healthcare are busting some common myths about healthy and unhealthy food choices.

Getting kids to eat can sometimes be a challenge and feeding them something healthy is not always straightforward.

Doctors at Valley Children's Healthcare are raising awareness about the very real epidemic of obesity among children nationwide.

Experts say childhood obesity has tripled since the 1980s.

Dr. Brandon Ang is a pediatric resident at Valley Children's.

"We're seeing a lot of kids these days who come in with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. Things we have not usually seen in kids," said Ang.

Issues that could carry on through adulthood if not corrected in time.

Dr. Maryam Hockley is a pediatric resident at Valley Children's and works with families on how to make healthy choices when it comes to mealtime for kids.

She refers to MyPlate.gov as a source for helping bring nutrition into your home.

The website can also help dispel many myths about eating healthy. For instance, is there truly a difference between white and wheat bread?

"I think wheats, oats and grains are probably a little bit better than white in total, but I think everything carb-wise, starch wise in moderation," said Hockley.

But are all carbs bad, considering our body breaks down carbohydrates and starches into sugar?

Which tortilla is healthier? Corn or flour?

"There's not a price difference. These are both the same price today at the grocery store, so I think it's whatever you prefer," said Hockley.

A small amount of carbs are essential to your child's growth but try not to over indulge.

Doctors recommend staying away from processed foods.

"Ultimately, if we can get them to eat any greens. Its good for their gut, its good for regular bowel movements and its great for overall health," said Hockley.

And that doesn't mean veggie chips.

Hockley says, "the fun thing about that is that there's a lot of added salt. As much as we love our veggie chips or veggie straws, I am eating chips made out of beets, but they may have a lot of added salt."

Another favorite among kids is soda.

Some suggest clear sodas are healthier than colored ones.

"Ultimately clear vs. colored doesn't really matter. There's pretty much the same sugar content or sugar substitute. You may think dark has more additives because its dark, but not necessarily," said Hockley.

Like soda, many juices on the market are also packed with sugar.

Large amounts of sugar can be addicting if started at an early age.

"Sodas and juices all have high sugar in them without much nutritional value," said Ang.

And beware of sports drinks.

"Most of us do moderate to light exercise, and that doesn't require electrolyte replacement unless you're a pro athlete. Ultimately we love water. Our body is made of water. Kidney's function on water, we need water," said Hockley.

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