As a practicing pediatrician, I spent a geat deal of time talking with parents about what their children were eating. This was particularly important if the children were anemic, underweight, or had a problem with constipation. Now it appears there is a new worry for pediatricians and family doctors. An article in yesterday's New York Times by Abby Ellin discussed a group of parents who feed their children only raw foods. I was appalled! No child should live on a diet of raw milk, raw vegetables and fruits without enough protein for growth and well-being. What could the parents possibly be thinking and where are their doctors? Do the doctors ever talk with the parents about the children's diets?
Not only do raw foods lack adequate proteon, but having a small child eat raw vegetables and fruits can be dangerous because the raw foods may be difficult or impossible for a little child to swallow. Some kids end up in the hospital or some have an obstruction and die.
Protein is very necessary for growth and development. If a child is raised on a strictly vegetarian diet, it takes five times the amount of food a child would normally eat to get adequate food for growth. That also means there has to be some source of protein, such as beans, nuts, eggs, and cheese. Raw milk can cause illness and anemia and poor weight gain can also be a problem. I certainly hope parents will re-think what they are feeding their kids.