By: Sapna Fliedner MSN, HHC
If you want your kids to get cancer, diabetes, hormone imbalances, mood disorders, heart diseases, ADHD, autism, food allergies, obesity, and decreased absorption of vitamins and minerals, feed them boxed, packaged, processed, canned and fast food. Yes, these foods are convenient and portable and have a long shelf life ( due to all the preservatives), but I guarantee you that your kids will pay the price for these in the long run and sometimes in the short run.
Additives are used in processed foods to make them look and taste better. There are around 3,000 different food additives that are commonly used in our food supply. Each processed food has a minimum of 3-4 artificial food additives. Even if all of the food additives were safe individually, it is very rare for any food to have only one additive. The testing that has been for food additives has been done for single additives, not combinations.
Artificial food colorants are produced from coal tars through chemical synthesis in laboratories and are then sent to processed food manufacturers to use in recipes. Food additives are in all packaged foods, even health foods. The problem with your local health food store is that you are lured to buy it because the box says organic or packaged very natural and pretty. But all foods in a package, box, or can, whether organic or not, have to have food additives in it or they will go bad. They are in sugary breakfast cereals, sodas, snack foods, condiments, pickles…you name it. Just think, if it is portable and convenient, then it has some artificial additive in it.
The Harmful Effects Of Food Additives
In small amounts, food additives are not harmful. They do not affect the body immediately, but rather have long-term effects. These are particularly harmful to young, growing children, as they have small body masses with higher nutritional requirements and their diet is less varied. These have profound effects on children’s brains and learning capacities. Think ADHD, ADD, Autism to name a few.
Chemical food colorants change human brain functions and cause all of the above health issues. On a subtle level they can cause hypersensitivity and mood alterations in both adults and children.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly found food additives:
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)– Everyone knows this is a flavor enhancer found in many asian foods. It’s an excitotoxin which crosses the blood brain barrier and basically excites and kills your brain cells and nervous system. Children’s blood brain barriers are not fully developed, making MSG more harmful to them. Most everyone knows MSG is bad for you and do they’re best to avoid it, but the FDA is so sly, that they have repackaged and hidden MSG as another name. How they get away with this, I don’t know, but if you see autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, yeast food, hydrolyzed protein, textured protein, calcium casenate or sodium casenate in your food labels, the you know that this is MSG.
2. Artificial sweetners (Saccharin, Aspartamine which is also called Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful), and Splenda which is sucralose. These are made by the food industry to deceive you into thinking you can lose weight, but the more of these unnatural sugars we consume the fatter we get. The problem here is that when you consume fake sugars with no calories, your body craves more calories than if you had eaten real sugar, thus the endless cycle. You are hungry all the time because the body is not getting the nutrients it needs. These sugars cause headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, memory loss, blindness, chronic fatigue, depression, and Alzheimers.
3. Food colorings– Here are a few colors that are linked to cancer in animal testing: —Blue 1 and 2. This is found in baked goods, pet food, candy, soft drinks and contributes to cancer by damaging the chromosomes in a cell’s nucleus thereby resulting in uncontrolled cell mutation as shown in mice.
—Red 3. Found In fruit cocktail, cherries, baked goods, ice cream, cherry pie filling and candy. This has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats.
—Citrus red 2. They use this to color the skins of some oranges. This has been shown to cause cancer.
—Green 3. Sometimes found in beverages and candy. This causes bladder cancer.
—Yellow 5 and yellow 6. Found in beverages, candy, sausages, baked goods, gelatin. This is one of the most widely used food colorants and causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.
4. BHA & BHT- These are oxidants which block the process of oil rancidity also giving your food a longer shelf life. You will find this most commonly in cereals, potato chips, vegetable oil, and gum. This promotes cancer causing reactive compounds and affects sleep and appetite. This also has been associated with liver and kidney damage, fetal abnormalities and growth retardation.
5. Sodium Nitrate or Sodium Nitrite- These preservatives are added to color luncheon meats, hot dogs, ham and bacon. This gives it that pinkish red color and they also put it in to prevent the growth of bacteria like botulism. This causes pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, and colorectal cancer. On a light note you may just get dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
6. Olestra—A calorie free synthetic fat commonly found in potato chips. This
causes abdominal cramping, severe diarrhea, gas and inhibits absorption of fat soluable vitamins.
7. Pesticides—These are found in our food supply, lawns, gardens, and parks and
are carried into our rivers, streams and oceans after it rains. It is difficult for our bodies to remove these chemicals and results in infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, heart disease, cancer and weakens our endocrine and immune system. Please buy organic fruits and vegetables and take care of the lawn organically. I see so many people spraying multiple chemical weed killers and then let their kids and dogs play in the yard. I have read countless stories of how this contributes to lung cancer and asthma and cancer.
8. GMO’s—I find this one the most dangerous. They are plants that have had
their DNA modified. They are in the majority of packaged foods as corn,
soybean, and canola, Hawaiian papaya, beets, cotton. Causes allergies, immune suppression, resistance to
9. Propyl Gallate—Found in meat products, chicken soup base, and gum. It is
linked to cancer in animal studies.
10. Acesulfame K—Found in gelatin, gum and baked goods. Causes cancer in
11. White sugar—Yes, refined sugar is a food additive. It is artificial and causes
so many health problems. Causes obesity, diabetes, gallstones, breast cancer,
migranes and impaired immune function to name a few. Also disrupts the
absorption of nutrients and causes PMS, depression and osteoporosis. Basically, what doesn’t it cause. High Fructose Corn syrup is the worst. For more info, please see my sugar article.
12. Potassium Bromate— This is used to increase the volume in rolls, bread and white flour. Causes cancer in rats.
13. Sodium Chloride—Otherwise know as table salt. Like sugar it is refined and synthetic. It causes heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure.
Other dangerous additives include E133 Brilliant Blue and E621 monosodium glutamate which, used together, have toxic effects on the body’s nerve cells. Studies showed that these chemicals prevented nerve cells from growing and also interfered with the body’s signaling systems.
One additive that is receiving media attention now is trans fats. Trans fats are a type of fat formed when liquid fats are made into solid fats by the addition of hydrogen atoms called hydrogenation. Trans fats are now widely known to cause heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer and increased cholesterol and are found in almost every restaurant and packaged food to increase shelf life. They are found in shortening, hard-stick margerine, cookies, crackers and snack foods made with partially hydrogenated oil.
The Effects Of Food Additives On Children
Some children are more sensitive to food allergies than others and they may have an immediate reaction to them as soon as they have digested it. Younger children and infants are more susceptible to the toxins contained in additives. Infants do not have the ability to detoxify their bodies because their livers and drug-metabolizing enzymes are not developed.
The main concern of many health specialists is that food additives can cause the symptoms of ADHD. The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) recognizes the link between additives and temper tantrums, hyperactivity, poor concentration and other behavioral problems in children. The idea that synthetic food colorants may affect children’s behavior adversely has been around since the 1970’s when San Francisco allergist Dr. Ben Feingold noted that his patients improved after their diets were altered.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) now requires all manufacturers to prove scientifically that the additives they use are safe. The tests are done on animals and if there are significant side effects, they must reduce the concentration of additives until it is considered “safe for human consumption.” Unfortunately, this standard refers to a human adult. There is no standard for children, so the dose for weight that is considered acceptable is very high.
How To Avoid Food Additives
The first and most important thing to do is to avoid buying convenience food. Throw it out and start cooking with whole foods. The only way to avoid food additives is to eat whole, fresh, organic foods in their natural state. I always tell my children to eat it if it has grown in the ground or a tree….not a factory. If indeed, you are still going to buy packaged food, read your food labels carefully. There is this wonderful book called “Food Additives: A Shopper’s guide to what’s safe and what’s not” by Christine Farlow. It is a small pocket sized book that you can carry in your purse and it lists every additive known to man. I highly recommend this book. Also turn off the T.V. These ads are brainwashing the children to eat and enjoy these fake foods.
There is so much evidence that these additives alter children’s brains and cause so many health problems, why would you want to consume it? There is also the theory that toxins from the parents played a huge role in contributing to the problems before the child was born. Food additives eaten by the parents, especially the mother have been found in newborns. The Environmental Working Group has found 287 chemicals in the cord blood of babies. This is huge. So when people tell me that it’s the children’s DNA that is part of their negative behavior, I beg to differ. Tell me what they eat and I will tell you about their behavior. It’s all in the food. I really wish the FDA would just get rid of food additives. It is much easier to ban these chemicals than to put your child on Ritalin. The FDA is not going to protect your child…it is up to you.
• Food Additives, Protect Your Family From Cancer-Causing Chemicals HealthyEatingAdvisor.com, http://www.healthyeatingadvisor.com/food-additives.html
• Dr. Mercola, 12 Food Additives to Avoid, articles.mercola.com, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/06/24/12-food-additives-to-avoid.aspx
• CSPI Urges FDA to Ban Artificial Food Dyes Linked to Behavior Problems, www.cspinet.org, http://www.cspinet.org/new/200806022.html
• Kelly Scotti, THE DIRTY DOZEN Get the low down on 12 foods you can live without, thefamilygroove.com, http://thefamilygroove.com/augdirtydozen.htm
• Stephanie Ann Whited, ADDitives and ADHD: A Comprehensive Look, www.naturalnews.com http://www.naturalnews.com/022162.html
• Lauralee Berrill, Chemical Additives – Are They Slowly Killing Our Children?, www.naturalnews.com, http://www.naturalnews.com/022512.html
• Mike Adams, Warning: Christmas colored chips, cookies and treats may be poisoning your children, www.naturalnews.com, http://www.naturalnews.com/030761_Christmas_cookies_food_coloring.html