Food Myth Busters

With so much information out there on food, both research-based and pseudo science, it’s hard to know what to true and what is healthy. We are using this space to inform readers on the truth about many of the questions we receive. Want to ask your own question? Email

Giving my child vitamin C supplements will prevent them from getting colds.


Recent studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation is typically not effective for preventing colds. However, regular vitamin C supplementation prior to catching a cold may decrease the DURATION and SEVERITY of a cold. Studies show that the duration of a cold was 1-4 days less for those that regularly took a vitamin C supplement before catching a cold than for those that did not take a supplement.

Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among children and adolescents.


Vitamin D is important for bone growth and immune function.

Recommended dosage for supplementation:

-Children younger than 1 year old: 400 IU/day

-Kids older than 1 year old: 600 IU/day

Sunlight exposure is the best source, but it can also be found in fortified items such as milk, cereals, some brands of juice and yogurt, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, and eggs from hens that have been fed vitamin D.

An 8 oz. serving of milk contains 100IU.

Sun exposure for 30 minutes twice a week without sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks the synthesis of vitamin D.

Snacking can help children and teens achieve a healthy weight.


Ideally, snacks and meals should be timed so that they are eaten every 3-4 hours. Healthy snack choices include fruit, vegetables, cheese, nuts/nut butters, and hummus. Unplanned, continuous snacking can result in unhealthy weight gain. Don’t allow snacking during screen time which can lead to overeating. It’s okay to stop snacks one hour before meals so that kids are hungry at mealtimes.

100% juice has the same nutritional value as a piece of fruit.


In addition to all of the vitamins and minerals found in 100% juice, a piece of fruit contains fiber, which fills you up faster and keeps you satisfied for a longer period of time. Fiber also helps relieve constipation. You will also find additional phytonutrients in the edible peels and seeds of a piece of fruit. It is recommended that children’s diets focus on whole fruits first.

What is true regarding hydration in children and adolescent athletes?

  1. Water, not sports drinks, should be the main source of hydration.
  2. Routinely drinking sports drinks should be avoided or restricted because they can increase the risk of overweight and obesity.
  3. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavoring, and are intended to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise.
  4. Sports drinks, in combination with water, should be ingested during prolonged, vigorous physical activity that lasts for more than 60 minutes.
  5. All of the above.

Correct Answer 5: All of the above

All of the above answers are recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What is true regarding breakfast for children and teens?

  1. Children and teens who eat breakfast function better in school and have better eating habits overall.
  2. Breakfast breaks the overnight fast and replenishes glucose levels, and children’s brains use more glucose than adult brains.
  3. Regularly eating breakfast is associated with overweight and obesity.
  4. A & B
  5. A, B & C

Answer: 4

A 2008 study in the journal Pediatrics found that adolescents who ate breakfast daily had a lower body mass index than teens who never ate breakfast or only on occasion.

Research suggests a breakfast that includes a source of protein and whole grains and is low in sugar and artificial additives improves concentration, comprehension, and memory recall in school-age children.