View Full Version : Do children naturally IF?

Dave Van Skike
12-16-2006, 02:39 PM
Question for you bio-egghead types with kids. Do you notice or correlate IF with the way growing children (2-6) seem to naturally eat? My wife and I have observed our kids and teh children of our friends seem to eat in episodes. 48 hours of relatively high feeding of any and everything followed by about 24 to 48 hours or of very light eating and lots of food refusal.

Looked around pub med and haven't seen any IF related research with this. Not surprising, I guess, who'd volunteer their kids for medical research?

What got me thinking was I recall that intense growth periods in my own athletic endeavors led to really sporadic appetite. Heavy-duty training coupled with lots (12 hours+) of sleep led me to a rather natural IF type of rhythm. Never thought it might be healthy or natural. Young children seem to be perpetually in a similar state of growing, sleeping then eating like wolves followed by periods of almost fasting type behavior where they will eat very little of one or two things.

Am I seeing a pattern or inventing one? Given how much I've learned about squat mechanics from my kids I thought this might be another little gem.

Steve Shafley
12-16-2006, 03:11 PM
I think it's appetite driven, which is, in turn, driven by many other factors, such as sleep, activity levels, growth, etc.

I've noticed that when little, most kids eat sporadically. I've seen my daughter eat 6 good meals a day one day, then only one decent meal and a few small snacks a day later. Seems very random.

However, consider that newborns eat often. Very, very often.

Neal Winkler
12-16-2006, 03:20 PM
I know I'm just going to let my kids eat when hungry.

Scott Kustes
12-18-2006, 10:03 AM
I would bet (have no kids, so don't know) that kids follow what would be a more natural eating pattern. They eat when hungry and eat enough to be satisfied. But most adults stamp that naturalism out of them with "clean your plate" and "there are starving kids in Africa", along with "eat three meals per day." Couple that with the standard high-carb diet of Western countries, which seems to shut down the body's natural satiation and you end up with many fat kids.

Robb Wolf
12-18-2006, 05:33 PM
Really interesting observation. You are right...one can retro-engineer this to look like an IF schedule but from my time around kids this does seem to be the case. If I did not have some wacky notion of trying to be as big-n-buff as Josh Everett I'd naturally eat less than I do. Ego is a nasty companion sometimes!

I think you are right on with the carb derailing appetite observation.

Steve Shafley
12-18-2006, 06:04 PM
My three and a half year old daughter's diet today, for educational purposes...this is by no means normal, this is actually a surprising amount of food for her. She's a skinny 31 lbs.

7:30 AM: half cup of whole milk
8:30 AM: 1 piece of sausage, 5 strawberries
10:30 AM: cashews and cheeze-it crackers...more cashews than cheeze-its.
1:00 PM: refried beans, mexican rice, salsa, and ground beef all mixed together.
3:30 PM: half a banana, more milk...probably a cup.
6:00 PM: some chicken, 1 green bean
8:00 PM: small bowl of ice cream, with cashews and chocolate syrup...the ice cream was home-made, if that's any consolation.

Other drinks: water, some "Naked Juice" Green Machine smoothie thing.


-Rode bike a mile while I walked the dogs
-Swinging for a half-hour on her swingset
-Accompanying me for two hours of errands
-Several failed attempts to move the boxer out of her way by dragging him by the front paws.
-Jumping on the mini-tramp
-Demonstrating various yoga poses she knows to me (tree, cobra, downward dog, 1 leg downward dog)
-Swinging on the strap I have hanging in the basement
-Picking up a "really heavy" kettlebell (my 8kg kb, in fact, a 4 kg PR!)
-Throwing a fit because she misses her mommy.

Ron Nelson
12-19-2006, 10:04 AM
I think there's something to the "natural programming" notion in children. My kids will tend to be up and out of the house all day (if we let them) in the summer, but are content to stay inside (on the couch) in the winter.
Also, my 5 year old and 7 year old eat when hungry, which seems to be all the time. Both are lean and active. My daughter can pack away the food then seem like she's grown an inch overnight.

My boy, the youngest in the family, can go with just milk (rice milk, he's allergic to dairy and soy) and a piece of sausage in the morning. He's not big on vegetables and potatoes, so French fries are out, but so are green beans. He'd survive just fine on chicken nuggets and hot dogs.
That's Paleo, isn't it?

Oh, and they love Mexican food, which to them is rice and beans. Maybe a burrito from Del Taco once in a while.

The key here is limiting what they eat, not when they eat. We limit candy to once a day, if they ask for it and most of the time they don't (out of sight/out of mind). We encourage fruit and string cheese over chips and "fruit snacks." We aren't perfect with diet, but since both the wife and I were once much heavier (before we met), we tend to be vigilant over what they eat.

Don't ask me about the teenagers. Different world I don't understand.

Steve Liberati
12-19-2006, 11:04 AM
"The Little Johnny Diet" to be out on bookshelves soon....

"How to Lose Weight Eating Like a 6 Yr Old."

Actually surprised no one saw this marketing opportunity earlier. I'm sure its only a matter of time.

Dave Van Skike
12-19-2006, 11:30 AM
Reverse engineering aside (you might be right on that Robb), there is something to be said for doing as they do. Shaf's daughter's program looks pretty good.

Also, more reverse eng. It seem like when I'm on vacation (unprogrammed time) I follow a similar pattern. Eating a lots every couple of days eating super light or not at all the rest of the time.

"The Little Johnny Diet" to be out on bookshelves soon....

"How to Lose Weight Eating Like a 6 Yr Old."

Actually surprised no one saw this marketing opportunity earlier. I'm sure its only a matter of time.