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GrumpyGram's avatar

Do Growing Children Need Milk and Beef? (fat)

Asked by GrumpyGram (822points) June 5th, 2010

I’ve read that brains are made up of fat and need beef and whole milk, not skim; kids’ brains I mean. And that growing teeth need calcium from milk. Is that true or a myth?
I think it’s important to know the truth.

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7 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

According to this link, “At a year old, formula-fed babies can switch to whole cow’s milk. It is important to use “whole” milk, because children under two years old need fat for brain development.” And according to this link , “When your child is 2, you can probably make the switch to low-fat or nonfat milk, but talk with your doctor before doing so.”

When my son was 2, our pediatrician told us to switch to 2%. Then when he was 4, we were told to go back to whole milk because of his weight. Now he’s 8 and we use 2% again.

faye's avatar

I think only calves should drink milk. I think there is enough fat in a regular diet if you eat meat and butter.

Seek's avatar

And where does the butter fat come from, @faye?

In short, yes. The long answer is “no, as long as you’re acquiring the necessary nutrients from other sources, which include blah blah blah…” but I think milk and meat are delicious and amply available forms of nutrition, and I have no moral qualms about consuming them.

MissAusten's avatar

I think it’s important for kids to have necessary fats and nutrients in their diets, regardless of the source (as long as it is a healthy source, obviously). It’s often a lot easier to get kids to drink milk or eat yogurt than to get them to take in non-dairy foods that supply calcium. I don’t think anyone would suggest that a young child eat cheeseburgers loaded with grease on a daily basis, or slather butter on everything that goes into their mouths, but their nutritional needs are different from adults. Getting your fats and calcium from whole milk, yogurt, cheese, or meats like chicken or steak is probably better than getting it from potato chips and ice cream. Ask any parent whose child is lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, and I’m sure they could give you plenty of alternatives to whole milk.

We gave our kids whole milk until the youngest was two. Then we switched to 2%. I know families who continued to give kids whole milk past the age of two because the children were considered too thin by pediatricians. This is usually decided when a child’s growth shows a drop or his or her height starts to outstrip weight. I even knew a mom who was concerned that her daughter would grow up with unhealthy habits after the doctor suggested she go back to whole milk and give the child ice cream, cheese, and butter daily. She was very small for her age, and her growth rate had dropped. She followed the doctor’s advice, and later was able to gradually switch back to healthier levels of those fattier foods.

faye's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Um hmm, butter fat comes from cream, and it is almost purely fat, not much milk. I was a hippie child when the big horror was the growth hormone and antibiotics given to cattle. I was vegan for a long time and about all I missed was my butter and I confess to a liking for leather- such a no-no. I grew up with Seventh Day Adventist families who were not good vegetarians but I learned how. Their children grew up, seemed smart enough to me except the religion thing. Nuts are full of good fat, soy has fat and calcium. I read that Japanese and Chinese used to have very low incidences of osteoporosis and no or low use of dairy products.

cookieman's avatar

My daughter has never eaten beef and rarely drank milk.

She’s in first grade operating at a third grade level. I’m not concerned.

nikipedia's avatar

Fat and calcium (among many other nutrients) are important. Their sources, however, are not.

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