Aspartame, Saccharin & Sucralose
These are FDA approved artificial sweeteners that, unfortunately, can cause a host of problems. While the National Cancer Institute has said there is no clear evidence that these artificial sweeteners cause cancer, there have been numerous other studies that have linked aspartame and saccharin to cancer in rats. More immediate side effects of aspartame include headaches, nausea, memory loss and fatigue, just to name a few. Avoid these sweeteners. I would rather give my child a little bit of organic cane sugar, honey or maple syrup.
For years we have blamed sugar for making our kids crazy. Well, it might not have been the sugar after all. Food dyes such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1 have been linked to hyperactivity in children, allergic reactions and even cancer. Food dyes are made from petroleum – yep, same stuff we put in our cars. These dyes are banned in most of Europe, and American companies have found alternatives to dyes so they can keep exporting their products overseas. Don’t you think it’s time these companies did that here in the States?
In case you thought caramel color was made from caramel, think again. Caramel color is actually an artificial brown coloring that contains ammonia and sulfite. When heated to a high temperature, they create chemical reactions that have recently been found to cause cancer. The most obvious place you will find caramel color is in soda, but there are other foods they sneak this additive into, like Van’s Organic Natural Waffles. Van’s is not natural if it has caramel color in it!
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), or genetically engineered food, is everywhere these days, but you would never know it because GMOs don’t have to be labeled. In fact, it is believed that nearly 70% of the processed foods in stores today contain genetically modified ingredients. Whether this experimental technology is safe or not is a hotly debated topic right now. Over 50 countries worldwide do not believe they are safe and have placed restrictions or bans on selling GMO food. In the U.S., the same companies that sell GMO food are the ones conducting the studies that say they’re safe. Pardon me if I’m skeptical. You be the judge. Do your research on GMO food. For now, I’m opting for non-GMO labeled food whenever possible.
There are many ways to ensure your family is eating healthy. Eat real foods– the kind that don’t come in a box and don’t need a label. If possible, buy organic snack food. If a food is labeled organic, it should not have GMO ingredients.
Jenny Hein is a health coach and fitness expert. She has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, Today and has been featured in dozens of national magazines and newspapers. She resides in Ashburn, VA with her husband and three children.
America's worst kids' meal? With so many horrible options out there, how does a parent decide which meal is the worst for their child? Well, according to a recent study published by MSNBC, the numbers don't lie. At a whopping 1,250 calories, 79 grams of fat (11.5 of which are saturated), and 2,850 mg of sodium, the Uno Chicago Grill Kids' Kombo with French Fries is the winner of worst kids' meal, hands down.