Sunday, July 01, 2012

Dangers in your Kid's Foods

 This is a great article written by Christine Farlow that I wanted to share with you!

Many additives in the food you feed your kids may be very dangerous to their health. But you'd never know it if you believed the claims of healthy ingredients on the packaging.

Take, for example, breakfast cereals. They are laden with sugar, hydrogenated oils and artificial food colorings. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, fatigue, depression, tooth decay, B-vitamin deficiency and indigestion. Hydrogenated oils are associated with heart disease, cancer and elevated cholesterol. These diseases, associated with old age, actually can start in childhood when kids eat hydrogenated oils and other foods that contribute to these diseases. Artificial food colorings are some of the worst additives found in foods and are most abundantly found in foods made to appeal to kids, like cereals, candy, gelatin desserts, fruit drinks and soft drinks. The worst are Blue No. 1, Blue No. 2, Citrus Red No. 2, Green No. 3, Red No. 3 and Yellow No. 6. Some of these colors are carcinogenic, cause tumors in lab animals and are not adequately tested.

If your child has asthma, eating raisins, dried apricots or some other dried fruit that contains sulfites may cause her attacks. Sulfites were banned in 1985 on most fruits and vegetables, but are still allowed on fresh-cut potatoes, dried fruits and wine. They can cause severe allergic reactions and have even caused death in asthmatics.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and free glutamate are flavor enhancers considered safe by the FDA. MSG may cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches, itching, high blood pressure and allergic reactions. Free glutamate, the active ingredient in MSG, may cause dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, drowsiness and even brain damage, especially in children. Because of bad publicity, food manufacturers found ways to hide MSG in foods they produce. They list the ingredients that contain MSG but not the MSG itself. Or they use free glutamates instead of MSG. For example, broth may be listed as an ingredient on a label. Broth may contain MSG, but the ingredients in the broth are not required to be listed on the label. Hydrolyzed soy protein, a common ingredient in tuna, is high in free glutamates, but does not contain MSG. The label can legally say no MSG.

Even if the label says "all natural ingredients" and "no preservatives," the product could contain harmful additives. Almost all packaged foods, even so called "health foods", have additives in them, and many are harmful or inadequately tested. The manufacturer hopes you'll think these are healthy natural products, but if you read the list of ingredients, you'll find ingredients that are not common food items. If you learn to interpret food labels, you'll find that many of these ingredients are harmful or of questionable safety.

So, how do you know which foods are really safe to eat? Dr. Christine Farlow, in her handy pocket-sized book, FOOD ADDITIVES: A Shopper's Guide To What's Safe & What's Not, now in its 2004 revised edition, makes it easy to identify which additives are harmful and which are not. She classifies over 800 commonly used food additives according to safety, whether they may cause allergic reactions and if they are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA. In just seconds, the average person can find out if an additive in the food they're buying is harmful to their health. It's clear, concise and easy to use. Make this book your constant grocery shopping companion and you'll never again wonder about the safety of the ingredients listed on the package. You'll know.

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Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen

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