What Are We Feeding Our Kids? Toxic Ingredients in Packaged Foods Exposed
As parents, there is nothing we want more than to see our kids grow up healthy and thriving. But how can we do that when the food industry is filled with so many toxic ingredients? We’ve all heard “It's such a tiny amount," or “my kid doesn’t eat so much junk” - but unfortunately, these ingredients are not just in the “junk,” and when they're showing up over and over in their breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks throughout the day, it’s not a “tiny amount” anymore either.
In fact, one study estimated that on average, children consume 100 mg – 200 mg of artificial food coloring per day! We can’t continue to accept this, and becoming more conscious of the food products we purchase is a big step toward change. Let’s take a look at some common ingredients found in packaged foods that you should avoid feeding your little ones.
We’ve all heard of bleached flour, but did you know it is actually made by literally using bleaching agents such as benzoyl peroxide and chlorine gas? This process renders the flour void of nutritional value and has been banned in many countries including the EU. Yet it's still served up every day in countless baked goods, cereals, and other packaged foods.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is found in everything from crackers to ketchup to cereal bars and more. Not only does HFCS have zero nutritional value, but it also leads to higher cholesterol levels, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. Studies have shown that HFCS can also increase inflammation in children, affecting gut health and leading to poor immune system functioning.
Soybean Oil & Canola Oil
These two oils are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sprayed heavily with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) and highly processed using chemical solvents like hexane or acetone. Soybean oil is also one of the most inflammatory oils around – leading to an increased risk of chronic diseases. Plus, these oils are often hydrogenated – meaning they undergo further chemical processing to extend shelf-life which makes them even more unhealthy for your child's developing body.
Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1 & Blue 2
These artificial colors are used in food for no reason other than aesthetics – they offer no nutritional value or flavor enhancement but may contribute to hyperactivity in children according to studies conducted by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
TBHQ (Tertiary Butylhydroquinone) a synthetic antioxidant derived from petroleum which is used as a preservative to extend shelf-life but can induce allergic reactions or skin rashes in some people. It’s also been linked to cancer growth and can damage DNA replication at higher doses. It is found not just in snack foods but also breakfast cereals, salad dressings, frozen pizza crusts and much more.
Not only does avoiding these toxic ingredients benefit your child’s physical health, but their mental wellbeing as well! In fact, studies have shown that eating whole foods free from synthetic chemicals leads to better cognitive function among children and adults alike. So next time you reach for a packaged food item off the shelves at your local grocery store (or add it to your Instacart order) take pause and read the label before adding it to your cart – our kids’ health depends on it!