‘Kids on keto’ diet trend sparks controversy on TikTok


For Abby Durlewanger, putting her kids on the low-carb and low-sugar ketogenic diet was as easy as taking candy from a baby. 

“My children are happy and healthy, and they love the keto lifestyle we lead,” the mom of two and food influencer, who goes by House of Keto on TikTok, told The Post. “They’re not being deprived of junk food, they’re being empowered to make better food choices.” 

Three years ago, prompted by a desire to keep her kids healthy, Durlewanger, 32, stopped buying doughnuts and microwave mac ‘n’ cheese. She transitioned her entire household to a keto lifestyle — a regimen that promotes eating lean proteins such as turkey and high-fat foods including dairy and nuts.

Now, viral videos of the keto meals she prepares for her daughter Penelope, 11, and son Huxley, 5 — like chicken lettuce wraps, a mélange of berries and fresh slices of cheese — have racked up more than 8.9 million views on TikTok.

Posts of their family dogs feasting on homemade low-carb dishes have proven to be popular, too. 

But not everyone agrees that keto — a diet that Durlewanger’s critics have likened to “child abuse” — is right for kids.

Durlewanger’s posts have sparked social media outrage, with her and her husband Mike being pummeled with death threats, along with vows to call Child Protective Services. 

Durlewanger introduced keto to her kids and husband Mike three years ago.
Durlewanger introduced keto to her kids and husband Mike three years ago.
Credit: davenportphotoco

“I get at least 100 messages a day from people telling me to kill myself because of the way I feed my family,” she said, noting that her nutritional practices have been approved by their pediatrician.

“People act like I’m giving my kids alcohol rather than keto-friendly foods.”

On average, kids in the US consume more than 65 pounds of sugar per year, according to the American Heart Association. A diet full of sugar and starch-packed snacks such as soda, chips and cookies can raise the risk of childhood obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

That’s why Durlewanger said she’s doing the right thing. “If my kids decide to grow up and become sugar addicts, that’s fine,” the Maryland mom said. “But for the 18 years that I’m responsible for their diet, I’m not serving harmful foods.”

Durlewanger says her kids Penelope and Huxley enjoy the keto lifestyle because they're able to help her prepare nutritious meals that they prefer to junk food.
Durlewanger says her children Penelope and Huxley enjoy the keto lifestyle because they’re able to help her prepare nutritious meals that they prefer to junk food.
Credit: davenportphotoco

Courtney Glick, a pediatric dietitian at NYU Langone, told The Post that subjecting children to a restrictive diet like keto can reap adverse effects on a growing kid’s physical and psychological well-being. 

“We typically don’t suggest any diets for kids because food restrictions can create disordered eating patterns,” said Glick. “And when adults label foods as ‘bad,’ ‘wrong’ or ‘off-limits,’ kids may become more anxious and stressed about eating, which can lead to childhood eating disorders.”

As for the nutritional risks, keto for kids — depending on how restrictive the diet is — can also drastically limit their intake of B vitamins, fiber and iron, Glick added.

“Foods most kids eat like breads, pasta and cereal are vitamin and iron-fortified to support a child’s overall health,” she said. “Cutting carbs and their micronutrients out of a child’s diet is the restriction of an entire food group, which is in no way balanced nutritionally.”

Glick suggests kids follow a well-balanced diet incorporating all of the food groups in order to develop lifelong positive relationships with food.

But Durlewanger maintains that her kids are not deprived. She said they even get to indulge in their favorite non-keto delicacies once in a while.

“The goal isn’t to stop them from eating pizza with the crust on occasion or a slice of cake at a friend’s birthday party,” Durlewanger said. “They do.”

“It’s not even about weight loss,” the lifestyle blogger continued. While her children have never struggled with obesity, she has maintained a 130-pound weight loss on the keto diet since 2016. 

“It’s about giving our kids the tools to build healthy relationships with food by making conscious decisions about what they put in their mouths and how those foods will impact their bodies.”

(L to R) Mielke with her daughters Emery, Eliza, Amelia and  Annie.
(From left) Stephanie Mielke with her daughters Emery, Eliza, Amelia and Annie.
Courtesy of Stephanie Mielke

Stephanie Mielke, 38 — who calls herself Keto Mom —  introduced her four daughters to the diet six years ago in order to “teach them how to eat healthy now, so that they know how to eat well as adults,” the southern Minnesota mother said. 

She and her girls — Amelia, 13, Emery, 11, Eliza, 9, and Annie, 8 — use Instagram to share fun low-carb meal ideas for kids with their 60,000 followers.

As for her digital detractors, “I reply back with, ‘Well, would you rather your kids fill up on a bag of chips or veggies and dip?’ ” she said flatly. ” ‘Which seems more healthy to you?’ ”

Durlewanger echoes that sentiment. 

“What type of parent would I be if I let haters on TikTok dictate how I raise my children?” she said. 

“We don’t post on social media to take a consensus. We do it to inform the world about a lifestyle that works for us.”

Annie Mielke serving up smiles and a keto-friendly salad.
Annie Mielke serving up smiles and a keto-friendly salad.
Courtesy of Stephanie Mielke

Kid favorites and their keto alternatives

  • NO stack of buttermilk pancakes, YES platter of cheese-based waffles.
  • NO fast-food french fries and chicken nuggets, YES bun-less bacon cheeseburger with extra lettuce and tomato.
  • NO crispy pizza pockets, YES pull-a-part pizza bread made of almond flour, three cheeses, sauce and pepperoni.
  • NO mac ‘n’ cheese, YES three-cheese broccoli casserole.
  • NO conventional ice cream, YES homemade low-carb ice cream with heavy cream, vanilla extract and keto-friendly powdered sweetener.





Source link Fit Fast Keto

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