Checking the labels in children’s food products has become an essential task for every parent. The alarming number of potentially harmful ingredients used in kids’ products is a strong reason for parents to stay alert and prevent their little ones from ingesting and suffering side effects from these ingredients. Here is a quick view of 5 ingredients to avoid in children’s food products.
1. Food Coloring/Dyes
Leading off the list is food coloring added to children’s foods and drinks. Manufacturers usually use dyes to add and enhance color to colorless foods but these ingredients are also known to cause a variety of behavior effects such as hyperactivity and even ADHD. It is believed that the consumption of foods containing dyes may increase hyperactive behavior in children. Warning labels for synthetic food dyes are required in Europe and some countries have banned their use. However, a good number of products containing dyes are still sold in the American-market.
2. High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS is a cheap substitute for sugar used primarily to sweeten beverages such as sodas and juices. HFCS has been shown to promote increased belly fat and insulin resistance as well as causing chronic diseases. The fructose in HFCS goes directly to the liver, where it converts to fat and can ultimately lead to heart disease. Additionally, sugars are known to cause a variety of health problems but high-fructose corn syrup is the worst in terms of cancer risk.
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance have become increasingly common with nearly 8% of all individuals experience gluten intolerance. Children and adults with undiagnosed celiac disease have a much higher risk of ADHD than the general population. A gluten-free diet is the best way for kids to avoid these issues and improve behavior and functioning.
Aspartame has been linked to numerous adverse effects and behavioral disorders as well as headaches, anxiety, dizziness, convulsions and memory loss. High levels of aspartame can alter serotonin levels, which can lead to behavioral problems and other emotional disorders. In some studies, side effects were so severe that doctors were forced to prematurely end the studies.
5. Trans Fats
Vegetable oils are hydrogenated to transform them from a liquid to a solid fat, creating a desired consistency and increasing shelf life of foods. Trans fats raise your triglyceride and low density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad cholesterol) levels, and can lead to obesity even for kids as well as diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
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