How Teens Should Be Taking Supplements and Diets

Your teen continues to explore the world and learn more about themselves. They will naturally start to inquire about their body, including weight, diet, and how they build muscle.

Ellen Rome MD MPH is an adolescent medicine specialist. She says, "Weight loss and weight gain are frequently at the top of their list of questions when they come to me." Many teens are confused about whether weight loss is healthy or unhealthy.

Dr. Rome offers some tips for teenagers and their parents/caregivers on how to help them reach or maintain a healthy weight.

Fatigues associated with weight loss

Dr. Rome said that both girls and boys ask me this question and I explain to them that diet is a four-letter term. Young people who "diet" (restrict their food intake in relation to their bodies' needs) end up losing weight so their bodies can withstand the next famine.

Your body may try to store up fat for winter, or to reach an extreme weight to ensure you can survive the next period of relative starvation.

Dr. Rome states that there is a new subset of teenagers suffering from orthorexia. This disorder refers to an addiction to eating too healthy.

Unhealthy Diets

Teens may be exposed to diet trends through social media or from their classmates at school. Although it may be fine to let your child change their diet, it can also be a good idea to watch out for restrictive eating habits.

Dr. Rome warns that healthy eating can take on new meanings, including one that could be dangerous if it strips young bodies and brains of the energy or fuel they need. "Food fads - such as fat-avoidant, protein-but-no-carbs, and other trends - can actually be unhealthy for the developing brain and bones."

Important importance of healthy fats and carbohydrate

You may be sending your teen messages that say "fat" is harmful for their health. A healthy level of fat is essential for their growth.

Dr. Rome states that kids often forget fats don't have to be an enemy. "Their brains still develop into their teens, so they require 50 to 90 grams per day, from age birth up to age 26, for their development of new neural pathways."

Your body also uses carbs in many important ways. Avoiding carbohydrates may save the life of someone suffering from diabetes. This isn't a good meal plan to give your growing teenager," says Dr. Rome.

Teens require 130 grams per day of carbs, which is approximately 55% of the total daily caloric intake. Particularly after exercise, intense training or other activities, carbohydrates are important. For glycogen (the kind of energy that you require for endurance), teens need to consume carbs within 20 minutes following the completion of a longer workout.

Rome explains, "Without these carbs you cannot build glycogen."

Increased Risks of Weight Gain

Teens may also be obsessed with growing muscle and weight. A young athlete may want to gain strength, especially if they are looking forward at state championships or volleyball tryouts.

Protein Powders

Dr. Rome says that children who are overweight struggle to gain weight. Some people use protein powders. However, they can be harmful if you are dehydrated, such as after or during a workout.

This is because protein powders cross the blood brain barrier faster than water. The brain can become clot -like, and this can cause a number of mini-strokes.

Your teen can play safe and ensure they are hydrated while working out, as well as meeting their protein needs in a way that is different from protein powders. (More details below).

Supplements to build muscle

A popular supplement among teens is creatine, which many athletes use to build muscle. However, research has not been done on creatine's effects on children under 18 years old.

Dr. Rome explains that creatine pulls water out of muscles in order to help bodybuilders appear strong and large. Creatine can cause kidney problems.

This supplement is best avoided by teens.

What teens can do to safely maintain a healthy weight

Keep A Balanced Diet

Although you do not want your teen trying unhealthy food trends, it is possible to have a discussion with them about what healthy eating looks like. You can introduce balanced meals into your teen's daily routine by incorporating the Mediterranean diet. You can model healthy eating habits by creating nutritious meals for your family that you cook and share with them.

Well-balanced eating habits are a great way for teens to get more protein. You can include foods such as:

Teens need protein based on many factors, including their age and developmental stage. For teens, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests between 46 and 52 grams of proteins per day. Dr. Rome says that teens who are trying to build muscle should consume as much protein as possible.

Eliminate sugar and soda

You can make small, but significant changes in your teens' diet by removing soda from their lives. There are many health risks associated with sweetened drinks such as soda.

Various studies show soda is related to decreased energy and weight gain in teens and adolescents. Your teen can improve their health by cutting back on soda pop.

Get more exercise

There are many ways that your child can get more exercise, even if they don't like sports. Studies show that even a slight increase in daily physical activity can help boost muscle mass and, in turn, burn calories.

You can start with many exercises, such as running, yoga or cycling. These can all be activities your teenager can participate in with others, as part of an extracurricular club, or independently.

Building healthy muscles

There are safe alternatives to protein powders or restrictive diets if your teenager is interested in building muscle.

If teens are looking for protein supplements, they can take a look at:

Ensure(r) Plus. Boost(r) Plus. Boost(r) VHC. Dr. Rome states that they provide more energy and can work safer than protein powders.

It is possible to make food from certain sources. If you add ingredients like:

She adds that these may be less costly but still provide great energy.

It's an excellent opportunity for your teenager to take an active interest in their physical and mental health. Restrictive diets and use of harmful supplements are tempting. However, it is important for teens to be aware of what they're doing and how to avoid them.

You have many options for healthy eating, whether your teen is looking to increase their strength, energy or metabolism. Talk to your teen and their pediatrician/dietitian about healthy options.