9

votes

Explain to an 11 yr old why bread is not healthy

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 16, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I'm 17 and have been paleo for a little while now and my younger sister is starting to get interested in eating healthier too. But she's confused with what I say is healthy and what my parents and the FDA is telling her. She knows I don't eat bread and asked me today if bread is healthy. Our mom told her that at least one piece of bread a day is good but I strongly disagree. I'm not at all forceful when telling people about paleo, but my sister's health is important to me. How do I get her on the paleo bandwagon without making my parents think I'm teaching her "health-nut"nonsense? Also, how do explain to her why bread is "bad"? Btw, she already is very active and eats lots of fruits and quite a few veggies.

429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on August 17, 2012
at 06:50 PM

Most 11 year olds are exposed to far more disturbing things these days than what gluten does to your gut. I would think being blunt and telling the truth about food would actually prevent an eating disorder. Sure would have helped me when I was growing up. Lack of proper nutrition knowledge is why people get fat and sick and then starve themselves and yo-yo diet in the first place.

Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

(130)

on August 17, 2012
at 02:09 PM

That's the pits JB. It's too bad her grandparents just can't understand that this is what you want for your child and respect that even if they don't agree. I have done what what Gydle has suggested. I just don't buy it.

Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

(130)

on August 17, 2012
at 02:03 PM

YW PlantGirl and Jamie, you are absolutely right. It's the only way I could convince my 16 year old to agree to going Paleo...That and bacon. :)

6bce08b072e3cea49b292658b9d5d197

(1144)

on August 17, 2012
at 10:38 AM

Nemesis, she is the exact opposite of a picky eater :) Great appetite, but loves bread and sweets. Grandparents aren't helping on that front.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 17, 2012
at 09:50 AM

^ totally. Theres is basically no commercially available bread that is just made of flour, salt, butter and milk. Its all soy, chemicals, vegetable oils etc. Every bread has some extensive list of god-knows-what. Getting kids to read packets is a great idea, because most kids still have that "is this really safe to eat/good to eat" skeptical instinct.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:20 AM

Her sister is 11. No need to scare her about food at such an impressionable age. Pre-teens is when eating disorders tend to start.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:05 AM

Also +1 for leading by example.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:04 AM

Thank you!! That is a great tactic to use (for me, at least in the future).

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I am currently working on my5 yr old. Once I told her we were going paleo (about a week after we had started) all of a sudden she wanted bread. Now she knows it isn't so good, but I still let her have it about once a day if she asks for it. I am pushing more meats which she is accepting slooowllyyy. Fruits and veggies are more accepted. I'd love to hear your experiences.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 12:25 AM

+1 on the gluten.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 16, 2012
at 11:01 PM

@Lynn: Take a carrot and a cheese grater and SHRED that carrot if you want to drive the message home. Or just bash it with a hammer. Alternatively, take a piece of aluminum foil and pour a few drops of water on it. Note how the water stays on the aluminum foil. Now, poke a few holes into the aluminum foil with a toothpick and pour water onto it again.

7fb6efb15030ea965d00be6e8eb13fd4

(253)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Thank you so much for the great and encouraging answer, kris!

E40b2fc9ddcf702bab9d61d28b8c8440

(505)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Jaych, this is really good advice for lots of arguments!

7fb6efb15030ea965d00be6e8eb13fd4

(253)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Wow what a creative and detailed response! Thanks so much (:

E40b2fc9ddcf702bab9d61d28b8c8440

(505)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Love this. How would you explain gluten/inflammation/leaky gut?

4b05d725a8332e8e917a4ca58b6e8a1e

(1239)

on August 16, 2012
at 07:28 PM

I think this is very important. Instead of focusing on the negative ("you must never eat bread/sugar/vegetable oils or you will DIEEEEE"), which can be confusing and frustrating for a young person, focus on the positives. Tell her why you eat the good stuff instead of why you avoid the bad stuff. As someone who has seen extreme fear of food and orthorexia in children as young as 7, you want to be careful that food is seen as something that can help the body rather than just harm it.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 16, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Thanks JB! Is your toddler a picky eater?

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 16, 2012
at 05:34 PM

@smackles High fructose corn syrup accounts for 20% of the daily calories of the typical American (because it is hidden inside so many processed foods). Avoid processed foods and grain products, and sugar/carbs would become a non-issue for 95% of people. That should really be the lesson here.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 16, 2012
at 05:28 PM

@smackles Our govt recommends no more than 5% of daily calories come from sugar, yet also recommends that 60% of daily calories come from carbs. If sugar should be eaten in moderation, why should carbs (which end up as simple sugar in the blood) be eaten in excess? The point is to give someone the info they need to make informed choices. Like sugar, carbs don't cause problems for most people when eaten in moderation--neither should be demonized. But, eating excess amounts (like 60% of your daily calories) of either will cause most people problems.

Bf2291448a06d573f0fdc87cd514e512

(519)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:44 PM

Sweet potatoes, veggies, fruit?

Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

(130)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I agree! Great visual! I'm gonna use this for my kids!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:05 PM

I don't think you wanna tell an 11yo girl bread will make her fat.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Great answer! Really good visual for a kid!

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:57 PM

It would seem to me that it would be easier at that age - if you just don't have any in the house and provide healthy alternatives. It's not like he/she is going to go buy/sneak it elsewhere! And it's not like he/she is likely to starve. The survival instinct is strong. Eventually real food will win the day.

8e10b687e328468783a72c55b64710e8

(1453)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Doesn't take a beer drinker to know what beer can do to you.

8e10b687e328468783a72c55b64710e8

(1453)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Doesn't take a beer drinker to know what beer is.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:39 PM

That wasn't the point, Mikaela.

7fb6efb15030ea965d00be6e8eb13fd4

(253)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Um, my sister is only 11 so...she doesn't drink beer...

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15 Answers

best answer

27
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:57 PM

You'll need:

  • some table sugar
  • a piece of bread
  • several loose paperclips
  • several paperclips hooked together into a chain

Put the sugar and bread in front of them and ask "which of these is a carbohydrate?" They'll probably say the bread. You answer "the correct answer is they are BOTH carbohydrates."

Hold up a loose paperclip. "When a food is in the form of simple sugar molecules--like this bowl of table sugar--it is generally referred to as sugar, because it tastes sweet."

Hold up the chain of paperclips. "When a food is in the form of a bunch of sugar molecules hooked together into a long chain--like this piece of bread--it is generally referred to as a carbohydrate, because it doesn't taste sweet."

"But, both the sugar and bread are technically carbohydrates."

Hold back up a single paperclip. "How does your body digest a simple sugar molecule? It really doesn't have to do much of anything, it just absorbs that simple sugar molecule right into your blood steam." Lay the single paperclip off to the side, but within reach.

Hold up the chain of paperclips. "How does your body digest a carbohydrate?" Start to take the paperclip chain apart and lay the individual paperclips on the table (keep them separate from the earlier single paperclip). "It takes the chain apart and turns it into individual sugar molecules. Then, your body absorbs those sugar molecules right into your blood stream--the exact same way it did when you ate plain sugar." Point at the single paperclip from the simple-sugar explanation.

This is why, as far as your body is concerned, eating carbohydrates like bread is no different than eating table sugar. They both end up in your blood stream as a bunch of simple sugar molecules.

E40b2fc9ddcf702bab9d61d28b8c8440

(505)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Love this. How would you explain gluten/inflammation/leaky gut?

Bf2291448a06d573f0fdc87cd514e512

(519)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:44 PM

Sweet potatoes, veggies, fruit?

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 16, 2012
at 11:01 PM

@Lynn: Take a carrot and a cheese grater and SHRED that carrot if you want to drive the message home. Or just bash it with a hammer. Alternatively, take a piece of aluminum foil and pour a few drops of water on it. Note how the water stays on the aluminum foil. Now, poke a few holes into the aluminum foil with a toothpick and pour water onto it again.

Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

(130)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I agree! Great visual! I'm gonna use this for my kids!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:01 PM

Great answer! Really good visual for a kid!

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 16, 2012
at 05:34 PM

@smackles High fructose corn syrup accounts for 20% of the daily calories of the typical American (because it is hidden inside so many processed foods). Avoid processed foods and grain products, and sugar/carbs would become a non-issue for 95% of people. That should really be the lesson here.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on August 16, 2012
at 05:28 PM

@smackles Our govt recommends no more than 5% of daily calories come from sugar, yet also recommends that 60% of daily calories come from carbs. If sugar should be eaten in moderation, why should carbs (which end up as simple sugar in the blood) be eaten in excess? The point is to give someone the info they need to make informed choices. Like sugar, carbs don't cause problems for most people when eaten in moderation--neither should be demonized. But, eating excess amounts (like 60% of your daily calories) of either will cause most people problems.

7fb6efb15030ea965d00be6e8eb13fd4

(253)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Wow what a creative and detailed response! Thanks so much (:

8
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:19 PM

Tell her that bread is just a filler food, and that the only reason it's considered "nutritious" is because bread companies have to add a lot of vitamins and minerals to it. It's called fortification and is done to nearly every processed food, including milk. It's gross and unnatural. Plus, have you seen the chemicals listed in the ingredients?

http://blog.fooducate.com/2010/11/04/the-top-20-ingredients-used-in-bread-miniseries-part-3/

6
E15c5c2d17c4a5d723ce7bb4437062e6

(789)

on August 16, 2012
at 06:53 PM

That question hits home; I'm 24 and my little sister is 10, and also in the stage where she's interested in "being healthy" though our parents don't set the best example. Just like your sister, she is active and eats fruits and veggies, though she LOVES sweets (just like me, unfortunately.)

There are some good answers, I'll be incorporating these as well. I haven't focused so much on what ISN'T good for her, rather I show her what is. Without telling her what I substituted, I made zucchini spaghetti, squash lasagna, and mashed cauliflower ( for mashed potatoes. ) She loved it! - Then I told her that I used vegetables, which are good for her, and she agreed they tasted good before having that stigma like "Ew, there are veggies in here? Gross!"

4b05d725a8332e8e917a4ca58b6e8a1e

(1239)

on August 16, 2012
at 07:28 PM

I think this is very important. Instead of focusing on the negative ("you must never eat bread/sugar/vegetable oils or you will DIEEEEE"), which can be confusing and frustrating for a young person, focus on the positives. Tell her why you eat the good stuff instead of why you avoid the bad stuff. As someone who has seen extreme fear of food and orthorexia in children as young as 7, you want to be careful that food is seen as something that can help the body rather than just harm it.

E40b2fc9ddcf702bab9d61d28b8c8440

(505)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Jaych, this is really good advice for lots of arguments!

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:05 AM

Also +1 for leading by example.

6
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on August 16, 2012
at 03:27 PM

For an 11 year old, it's not too hard. Something like that people basically have not changed in the last 10,000 years, evolution is slow, and so it turns out that we have not had time to fully adapt to this new food. (I know, this is not an ironclad scientific argument, but it's intuitive and roughly correct for an 11 year old! The alternative is to talk about gluten etc. Do you really want to go there?)

Anyway, the real problem won't be the 11 year old, but her/your parents. If they think bread is a necessity and you can't convince them otherwise, it won't be pretty. So if you only succeed in getting your sister to moderate her consumption, that's still a big victory.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 12:25 AM

+1 on the gluten.

5
Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

on August 16, 2012
at 04:35 PM

You could also Google each ingredient on the bread package that you CAN'T pronounce. For example Diammonium phosphate which is found in Wonder Bread.

"Diammonium phosphate can be used as a fire retardant. It lowers the combustion temperature of the material, decreases maximum weight loss rates, and causes an increase in the production of residue or char. These are important effects in fighting wildfires as lowering the pyrolysis temperature and increasing the amount of char formed reduces that amount of available fuel and can lead to the formation of a firebreak. It is the largest component of some popular commercial firefighting products"

Any kid can see that this is definitely NOT healthy.

Or better yet show her the MSDS (Material Safty Data Sheet) Yep it has MSDS YIKES! http://www.bakerbro.com/pdf_library/Fertilizer/Innophos_Diammonium_Phosphate_MSDS.pdf

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 17, 2012
at 09:50 AM

^ totally. Theres is basically no commercially available bread that is just made of flour, salt, butter and milk. Its all soy, chemicals, vegetable oils etc. Every bread has some extensive list of god-knows-what. Getting kids to read packets is a great idea, because most kids still have that "is this really safe to eat/good to eat" skeptical instinct.

Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

(130)

on August 17, 2012
at 02:03 PM

YW PlantGirl and Jamie, you are absolutely right. It's the only way I could convince my 16 year old to agree to going Paleo...That and bacon. :)

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:04 AM

Thank you!! That is a great tactic to use (for me, at least in the future).

3
6bce08b072e3cea49b292658b9d5d197

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Up-vote for Nemesis. Tell her we're meant to eat whole, naturally healthy foods, not foods attempted to be made healthy in a lab.

I'm trying to get my 4 year old to give up bread. Now that's a toughie.

http://www.jbprimal.com

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 16, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Thanks JB! Is your toddler a picky eater?

Adeb72a71b7cd3f4dd75795eb9c11ad9

(130)

on August 17, 2012
at 02:09 PM

That's the pits JB. It's too bad her grandparents just can't understand that this is what you want for your child and respect that even if they don't agree. I have done what what Gydle has suggested. I just don't buy it.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I am currently working on my5 yr old. Once I told her we were going paleo (about a week after we had started) all of a sudden she wanted bread. Now she knows it isn't so good, but I still let her have it about once a day if she asks for it. I am pushing more meats which she is accepting slooowllyyy. Fruits and veggies are more accepted. I'd love to hear your experiences.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:57 PM

It would seem to me that it would be easier at that age - if you just don't have any in the house and provide healthy alternatives. It's not like he/she is going to go buy/sneak it elsewhere! And it's not like he/she is likely to starve. The survival instinct is strong. Eventually real food will win the day.

6bce08b072e3cea49b292658b9d5d197

(1144)

on August 17, 2012
at 10:38 AM

Nemesis, she is the exact opposite of a picky eater :) Great appetite, but loves bread and sweets. Grandparents aren't helping on that front.

2
E45c5a1c8df73da5e03bb6e7e90f8420

(644)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:47 PM

Bummer that your parents don't support your lifestyle. A lot of people are very resistant to change and going against the mainstream way of life makes them uncomfortable. Do you know your facts on why grains are unhealthy, like why gluten is damaging to the intestines? If you do, just share this with your sister is more kid-friendly terms. By 11 kids totally get it, so it shouldn't be so hard. If you don't know the facts then just do some research, and then share that with your sis. Whether she stops eating bread or not, it is definitely a positive thing and will impact her to have someone in her life advocating for their health.

7fb6efb15030ea965d00be6e8eb13fd4

(253)

on August 16, 2012
at 09:05 PM

Thank you so much for the great and encouraging answer, kris!

1
724ac8ed9ddc603e87adf6cfb901a8d8

on August 18, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Talk to her about nutrient density rather than telling her "bread is bad". The foods we should put into our systems should be as full of nutrients as the calories allow and that is why whole foods are a better option.

Bread is a low nutrient food unless they are enriched in a lab/factory (and even then, the vitamins and minerals are not absorbed as they should be)...and homemade bread better than commercial bread, is still not as nutritious as other carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, potatoes/tubers etc.

Good for you for helping your little sis :)

1
C00e493393828df34be65ddc25456c7c

(610)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Bread is not bad. Try a good sourdough bread.

1
Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:09 PM

Do an experiment.Get a cook book and look up a recipe for homemade bread.Make a loaf and let it sit on the counter along with store bought bread.See which one will get spoiled first.Maybe this will give her a better understanding of processing food.And that's a good start.Also,explain to her why do they add preservatives to food so she can understand the importance of eating whole,unadultered food.If she skipped cereals,snacks and sugary stuff that would be almost perfect.When she's older,she'll figure the grain stuff out

0
6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on August 18, 2012
at 04:37 PM

It will make you short and small.

0
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:37 PM

Teach her how to use nutrition tools, like the tools at nutrition data. There are a few problems with the information on there (especially how they judge inflammation), but it's a good place to start, and it lets her see for herself what foods are nutrient dense and which are not. Fitday also has a nutrient comparison tool with good graphics.

Nutrition analyzers plus an understanding of the downfalls of artificially added vitamins can give her a solid foundation.

0
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on August 17, 2012
at 08:26 AM

I think your mother is being sensible in saying bread once a day for your sister who is also active and eats fruit and veg is fine. If that is the only food that may not be best for her she's having you are all doing very well indeed. Most children are having diet drinks, chocolates, sweets, pizzas etc etc.

I have 13 year olds (boys) and one this summer has been doing much more sport and is fitter (the other is very very thin). He once asked about bread. I just said that all the other things he and his big brother are eating much less of - junk food, chocolate bars, doritos , sugared drinks are really good improvements. Some children who give up bread would then be hungry and eat chocolate which is much worse for them - they are not likely to go out and cook themselves a chicken instead.

0
429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on August 16, 2012
at 11:48 PM

Just say it puts holes in your intestines. That always gets peoples attention.

429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on August 17, 2012
at 06:50 PM

Most 11 year olds are exposed to far more disturbing things these days than what gluten does to your gut. I would think being blunt and telling the truth about food would actually prevent an eating disorder. Sure would have helped me when I was growing up. Lack of proper nutrition knowledge is why people get fat and sick and then starve themselves and yo-yo diet in the first place.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 17, 2012
at 01:20 AM

Her sister is 11. No need to scare her about food at such an impressionable age. Pre-teens is when eating disorders tend to start.

0
8e10b687e328468783a72c55b64710e8

on August 16, 2012
at 03:09 PM

bread is solid beer, and you know where "beer belly" comes from. (:

7fb6efb15030ea965d00be6e8eb13fd4

(253)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Um, my sister is only 11 so...she doesn't drink beer...

8e10b687e328468783a72c55b64710e8

(1453)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Doesn't take a beer drinker to know what beer can do to you.

8e10b687e328468783a72c55b64710e8

(1453)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:43 PM

Doesn't take a beer drinker to know what beer is.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 16, 2012
at 04:05 PM

I don't think you wanna tell an 11yo girl bread will make her fat.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 16, 2012
at 03:39 PM

That wasn't the point, Mikaela.

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