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What to Look for in a Fiber Supplement for Kids

Nutrition plays a vital role in supporting the health of our kids. Fiber in a kid’s diet is important because it helps promote digestive health. However, getting kids - especially pickier eaters to eat the right foods can be challenging. In today's world where processed foods often dominate the grocery aisles, ensuring that our kids receive the right nutrients is more important than ever. While we always promote a food first approach here at Begin Health, incorporating a high-quality fiber supplement can also be a game-changer for a kid's gut health. Here are five important factors to consider when selecting a fiber supplement for kids.

Type of Fiber Matters: Prebiotics for Gut Microbiota

Not all fibers are created equal and each type has its unique benefits. Look for a supplement that includes a mix of soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber, found in foods like oats and fruits, supports softer poops while insoluble fiber, found in vegetables and whole grains, adds bulk to stools to help prevent constipation. A well-rounded supplement provides a balance of both for optimal gut health [1].

In addition, a fiber supplement that includes prebiotic fiber is also a great option for kids. Prebiotics serve as fuel for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. The microorganisms in our gut play a crucial role in supporting the immune system and overall digestive health. Inulin and oligofructose, found in our Growing Up Prebiotics, are great examples of prebiotic fibers that can boost the good bacteria in the gut and improve overall gut microbiota composition [2].

Sugar Content

Some fiber supplements may contain added sugars. Opting for products with minimal or no added sugars should always be the goal because excessive sugar intake can have negative effects on our kid’s health. Studies find that increased intake of added sugars can increase the risk for weight gain and dental decay [3].

Begin Health Expert Tip PBegin’s Growing Up Prebiotics contains zero added sugars and provides 3 grams of prebiotic fiber from chicory root per serving, helping with softer and more frequent poops within six weeks of daily use [5].

Quality of Ingredients and Third-Party Testing

Fiber supplements can sometimes contain additional fillers such as silicon dioxide or food gums such as carrageenan as preservatives. The best options are supplements without unnecessary additives or artificial colors, such as aspartame or red dye, as consuming these may have negative impacts on overall health [4].

In addition, supplements that have been third-party tested ensure that the labels reflect exactly what’s in the product and it’s safe for consumption.

Begin Health Expert Tip At Begin Health, we are committed to delivering the highest quality and safest products to support your kid’s gut health. Learn more about how we ensure high quality products for your family by visiting our blog: The Role of Third Party Testing in Begin Health’s Growing Up Prebiotics.

Easy for Kids to Incorporate

Kids can be picky eaters, so selecting a fiber supplement that is easy to incorporate into their daily routine is essential. In addition, kids can also be sensitive to the taste and texture of supplements. As dietitians, we always tell our clients that sometimes the best supplements are ones you enjoy and can remember to take daily. Whether it's a powder like Growing Up Prebiotics that can be mixed into smoothies or a chewable tablet, finding a form that your kiddo enjoys will make it more likely that they stick to the daily routine.

Begin Health Expert Tip Growing Up Prebiotics is tasteless and textureless - just mix in water or your kiddo’s favorite juice, milk, or yogurt.

Formulated for Kids: Age-Appropriate Dosage

Choosing formulas that are made for kids ensure that the recommended dosage is appropriate for your little one’s age. While insufficient fiber may not provide the intended health benefits, too much fiber - especially for younger kiddos, can lead to digestive discomfort such as bloating. Opt for formulas that are made specifically for kids and always follow the guidelines provided by the supplement or consult with your kid’s healthcare provider if you have any concerns about starting a new routine.

Summary: Prioritizing the digestive health of our little ones is a proactive step toward a lifetime of optimal wellness. Some factors to consider when selecting a fiber supplement include the type of fiber it contains, sugar content, quality and testing of ingredients, ease of use and a kid-friendly formula.

Always remember to consult with your personal pediatrician or healthcare provider for personalized advice tailored to your kid’s unique needs.

References:

[1] Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 21;12(10):3209. doi: 10.3390/nu12103209. PMID: 33096647; PMCID: PMC7589116.

[2] Carlson JL, Erickson JM, Lloyd BB, Slavin JL. Health Effects and Sources of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber. Curr Dev Nutr. 2018 Jan 29;2(3):nzy005. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzy005. PMID: 30019028; PMCID: PMC6041804.

[3] Mahajan A, Yu J, Hogan JL, Jewell K, Carriero A, Annis A, Sadowski A, Darlington G, Buchholz AC, Duncan AM, Haines J, Ma DWL; Guelph Family Health Study. Dietary sugar intake among preschool-aged children: a cross-sectional study. CMAJ Open. 2021 Sep 14;9(3):E855-E863. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20200178. PMID: 34521651; PMCID: PMC8445636.

[4] Miller, M.D., Steinmaus, C., Golub, M.S. et al. Potential impacts of synthetic food dyes on activity and attention in children: a review of the human and animal evidence. Environ Health 21, 45 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-022-00849-9

[5] Closa-Monasterolo, R., Ferré, N., Castillejo-DeVillasante, G., Luque, V., Gispert-Llauradó, M., Zaragoza-Jordana, M., Theis, S., & Escribano, J. (2016). The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 68(5), 587–594. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637486.2016.1263605

May Zhu, RDN

May Zhu, RDN

May is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and nutrition expert at Begin Health.



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