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toddlers and wholegrains?

(8 Posts)
vesela Tue 28-Oct-08 14:52:08

Has anyone come across - from a reputable source - the recommendation that toddlers shouldn't eat too many wholegrains because of the phytic acid in them inhibiting the absorption of calcium and other minerals?

I know that too many wholegrains can = too much fibre for toddlers, or fill them up so they don't want to eat other things, but that doesn't seem to apply to my daughter (she eats like a horse whatever).

I'd hate to think I was stunting her growth with a bowl of porridge + a fair bit of wholemeal bread a day, though, so I'm just trying to work out whether there's anything to the phytic acid thing/whether it's codswallop/whether it's true but would only affect children whose diets were really low in calcium, iron etc. anyway.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 28-Oct-08 19:06:28

I've heard this from a few places, but never really looked into it. We eat only wholegrain at home, both my boys are fine.

They do tend to have runny poo, though, it only gets solid(ish) around 5. Fwiw.

Seona1973 Tue 28-Oct-08 20:04:27

I have heard a mixture of white and wholemeal bread/pasta/rice is recommended up to the age of 5.

From babycentre website:

A high fibre diet is not suitable for babies or young children. Occasional use of wholemeal bread, pasta and grains is fine, but too many of them could fill up your child's tummy, not allowing room for other foods. Do not add bran to your baby's food since it prevents some important minerals from being absorbed. Do offer your child a variety of different starchy foods, including wholegrain varieties, but don't use wholegrain foods exclusively until your child is five years old.

From Food standards agency:

But if you tend to eat high fibre foods, remember that young children's stomachs can't cope with foods such as wholemeal pasta and brown rice. Also, too much fibre can sometimes reduce the amount of minerals they can absorb, such as calcium and iron.

By the time they're five years old, young children should be eating family food, which is more bulky as it contains lots of starchy foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables. But make sure it doesn't contain too much saturated fat, which is found in butter, hard-fat spreads, cheese, fatty meat and meat products, biscuits, pastry and cakes.

MrsBadger Tue 28-Oct-08 20:09:27

we only have wholegrain bread but we have white rice, white pasta, potatoes, porridge, white bagels etc too

I think if every carb you ate was wholegrain and high fibre then toddlers might have a problem, both from the bulk and ther phytic acid angle, but so long as you're balanced you're probably doing ok.

(The problem I have is dd eating too much carb full stop, to the detriment of her protein intake (picking and leaving cheese out of sandwiches, meat out of pasta sauces, beans off toast etc)...)

nowwearefour Tue 28-Oct-08 20:10:21

when my dd1 was a baby i hdnt heard this and gave her loads of wholegrain everything. she did always look anemic despite having so many things with lots of iron in. now i reckon it was the wholegrain. i do only give brown bread but ome white pasta and rice sometimes now. there is something in it i reckon btu in moderation prob depending on the child is prob fine

vesela Tue 28-Oct-08 21:09:55

Thanks a lot - so it seems there is something to it, but that everything in moderation is the key (as ever).

I started making 100% wholemeal bread at home last week - previously we had mostly refined-flour rye bread or white rolls (we're in the Czech Republic and I miss wholemeal wheat bread, so I started making it).

So I'll aim for a mixture, then, and I won't need to bake as often, either.

vesela Tue 28-Oct-08 21:25:57

and Seona, thanks for the FSA & babycentre quote - I was googling using phytic acid and phytates, so they didn't come up.

elkiedee Tue 28-Oct-08 21:36:48

We use wholemeal bread at home but not rice and I think ds has white pasta as well at the childminder's. If we cooked pasta at home then it would be white, but although I love pasta dp doesn't so it tends not to be the basis of a family meal. We tend to rely on sliced bread and supermarket/shop bought wholemeal has more nutritional value overall, also ds has a scarily large appetite, think he'll be eating us out of house and home very soon.

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