Childhood Obesity: Fat Substitutes & Children
All fat substitutes used in foods produced in the United States have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as "generally regarded as safe."
However, whether foods containing fat substitutes are appropriate for children is a topic of debate among nutritionists. Many fat substitutes are calorie-reduced, which may be appropriate for some obese children, but not for all children. In general, children need sufficient fat calories to help provide energy for growth. Fat substitutes can't provide those calories.
Parents should always consider the overall nutrient content of foods and choose those foods that promote optimal health for their kids. Overconsumption of snack foods made with fat substitutes may deprive children of essential nutrients found in more nutritious, high-protein foods.
Parents of children who are eating foods with fat substitutes should watch for any signs that their kids are having trouble digesting those ingredients and consult a dietitian if they have any concerns.