Is having children a good motivation to eat a healthy and balanced diet? Not according to American researchers, who say that the amount of saturated fats in most people's diet actually increases after they have kids. The study team followed folks with and without kids for a total of seven years before coming to this somewhat surprising conclusion.
Their findings were published in the online version of the journal Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They started off with the presumption that people would start eating a healthier diet once they became parents which makes quite a lot of sense, doesn't it? It's normal to want to lead by example, and give your child the best start in the world, especially when you are also breastfeeding.
The study team followed the group of participants for seven years. The whole group gradually started eating healthier during this time, but those who didn't have children improved more quickly. Everyone had their dietary habits examined very carefully, and many interesting bits of data resulted. The childless group reduced their saturated fats by 2.1 percent, while those with kids only lessened them by 1.6 percent.
Perhaps the parents like to grab fast food with lots of trans fats or make easy microwave meals because they don't have enough time or energy for cooking? That would make perfect sense to me, but apparently there was no significant difference in overall calorie intake, nor in the amount of fast foods consumed! The consumption of fruit and soft drinks was similar as well.
Researchers speculated that the difference in fat consumption has something to do with the way that foods for children are marketed in the United States. Most of the foods that are marketed to young children are unhealthy and really high in saturated fats. That is certainly something that should be changed! Perhaps by eating healthier family dinners?