Fake Foods – Not What Nature Intended for Growing Kids
by Jane Sheppard
Fresh, natural whole foods are perfectly created to provide our kids with everything they need for great health and development. The processed food we get in convenient packages contains synthetic substances such as refined or artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colorings, and other chemical compounds in order to make it taste better or to prolong shelf-life. When our kids eat this processed food, their bodies have to deal with the synthetic additives. The body is designed to metabolize whole foods, not these synthetically altered “fake” foods. Artificially altered and processed food can cause nutritional imbalances and toxicity that can lead to trouble.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
High-fructose corn syrup in processed food and drinks is so common that it’s difficult to find food products that don’t contain it. This is because it’s cheap for manufacturers to use – a lot cheaper than sugar – and it extends the shelf-life of the product. High-fructose corn syrup is made by changing some of the sugar (glucose) in genetically-modified cornstarch to fructose so it ends up as a combination of fructose and glucose. This is not a natural sweetener.
Researchers have found that high-fructose corn syrup induces considerably more weight gain than table sugar. It leads to abnormal increase in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The following report explains more.
Mercury, a Neurotoxin, has been found in HFCS
Another very disturbing finding is that almost half of samples of high-fructose corn syrup tested contained mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin. Mercury was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.
The researchers suggested that this is likely caused by outdated chlor-alkali technology that uses mercury. Mercury cell chlor-alkali technology can be used to produce thousands of products including food ingredients such as citric acid, sodium benzoate, and high fructose corn syrup. The industry points out that most of the chlor-alkali plants do not use mercury cell technology any longer. However, the researchers reported that five mercury cell plants are still in operation in the U.S. and many more operating outside the U.S.
Mercury in any form and in any amount is an extremely potent neurological toxin especially damaging to the developing brains of babies and children. Here is an excerpt from the conclusion by the study’s authors:
“Mercury contamination of food products as a result of the use of mercury contaminated HFCS seems like a very real possibility. With daily per capita consumption of HFCS in the US averaging about 50 grams and daily mercury intakes from HFCS ranging up to 28 ?g, this potential source of mercury may exceed other major sources of mercury especially in high-end consumers of beverages sweetened with HFCS. Food products that contain a significant amount of HFCS should be tested for mercury contamination in the end product and the public should be informed of any detections. Clearly, more research is needed to determine the extent of mercury exposure in children from mercury contaminated HFCS in food products.”
How to Avoid HFCS
Read the labels on the drinks and foods you buy to see how much HFCS your kids are getting. In addition to sweetened drinks, HFCS is in many breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, salad dressings, soups, tomato sauces, condiments, and even cough syrups. Fast food often contains high fructose corn syrup. It’s even in some “health foods” that are labeled natural.
The average amount of HFCS that Americans consume per day is about 12 teaspoons and some teen-agers can get much more. No wonder we have such big problems of obesity and other chronic diseases in this country.
You can find real whole food at farmer’s markets, food coops, neighborhood farms, natural food stores, or grow your own.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Another very common ingredient in many processed foods is Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), a soy-based food filler. It’s in soups, gravy mixes, veggie burgers and a lot of other products. You may have heard about the recent FDA recall of products with HVP due to salmonella contamination of the equipment of one of the largest HVP producers. Here’s the FDA recall information:
HVP is a potential source of hidden monosodium glutamate (MSG), a potentially dangerous neurotoxin.
Aspartame Changes to AminoSweet
The artificial sweetener, Aspartame, is a toxic poison that is added to sweeten many drinks, foods, and chewing gum. You may already be checking labels to avoid this artificial sweetener. But did you know the company who makes it has now changed the name to AminoSweet? Yes, it’s the same poison with a nice new name that may sound more natural and safer. As more educated consumers avoid it, the company is getting more creative.
Aspartame is considered an excitotoxin that can over-stimulate nerve cells and lead to the development of neurological disorders. It’s made of three components – methanol, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are amino acids. Amino acids in their natural, whole food form are essential to health. But when an individual amino acid is separated from its protein chain and used in isolated form, it becomes unnatural and detrimental to the body.
Russell Blaylock, M.D presents the accumulated evidence against the excitotoxins aspartame, MSG, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein in his article – Excitotoxins, Neurodegeneration and Neurodevelopment
Dr. Blaylock specifically points out the concern for pregnant women and children:
“Of particular concern is the toxic effects of these excitotoxic compounds on the developing brain. It is well recognized that the immature brain is four times more sensitive to the toxic effects of the excitatory amino acids as is the mature brain. This means that excitotoxic injury is of special concern from the fetal stage to adolescence. There is evidence that the placenta concentrates several of these toxic amino acids on the fetal side of the placenta. Consumption of aspartame and MSG containing products by pregnant women during this critical period of brain formation is of special concern and should be discouraged. Many of the effects, such as endocrine dysfunction and complex learning, are subtle and may not appear until the child is older. Other hypothalamic syndromes associated with early excitotoxic lesions include immune alterations and violence dyscontrol.”
Here’s something that’s pretty scary. Now there are new chemicals that can trick our taste buds into sensing the taste of salty or sweet even when the salt or sugar is not there. These chemicals activate or block receptors in the mouth that are responsible for taste. We won’t know if a food product contains these chemicals since they are not listed separately on labels. They are lumped into the category of “artificial flavors”. The company that developed this technology was able to bypass the long FDA approval process and get these chemical flavors quickly approved as a food additive with one three-month long safety study of rats.
The industry is making it seem like a positive thing for food manufacturers to “clean up their labels” and add less sugar and MSG to processed food without compromising taste. But how safe is food with nanoparticle chemicals that drug our tastebuds?
We don’t need chemicals to fool our taste buds. Natural food tastes delicious all on its own. If you raise your kids on whole fresh food from the beginning, they will appreciate the good taste of real food and not get addicted to the artificial taste of fake food. And if you need to switch from processed food, it doesn’t take long to begin appreciating the deliciously wonderful taste of real whole food. There’s just no comparison.
Read more about the fake flavors:.
‘Secretive’ Chemicals Being Hidden in Food Under ‘Artificial Flavors’ Label
Speaking of nanoparticles, research is now showing that plastic nanoparticles can cross the human placenta, possibly exposing the developing fetus to the tiny materials that are increasingly used in medicines, vaccines and personal care products. And apparently now foods! So babies’ developing brains and other organs may be exposed to these particles with unknown health effects.