Over the past 50 years, there has been a significant increase in the rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, especially among children. Dr. David Ludwig, founder of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children's Hospital Boston, talks to Dr. Oz about what's causing these increases and what families can do to stay healthy.
Dr. Ludwig says that for thousands of years humans have been eating foods that digest slowly, which sustains a sense of fullness and promotes a good metabolism. In recent years, he says that due to an emphasis on low-fat diets, the amount of carbohydrates we eat has gone up, raising the glycemic index of our diets. The carbs cause a quick surge in our blood sugar, but it soon crashes down lower than where it started—leaving us irritable, distracted and usually hungry, Dr. Ludwig says.
A diet based on natural, whole and less-processed foods supports weight management and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, Dr. Ludwig says. Even young children understand the difference between healthy foods found in nature and "fake foods" that come from factories. He says it's up to parents to provide the nutritional choices that are best for their children. "The knowledge we hold in our brain needs to be transformed into gut knowledge," Dr. Ludwig explains.
Healthy eating habits start at home—it doesn't take too much effort on the part of the parents to create a healthy family. Dr. Ludwig offers the following advice: