What's Hiding in Your Kid's Food?

Are your kids getting more than the vitamins and minerals they need in their food? Likely so, if they eat a lot of processed, packaged food. Some of the most common food additives can have some pretty unsavory side effects, so it's a good idea to check labels before buying the foods your kids eat on a regular basis. {relatedarticles}The British medical journal The Lancet published its findings in 2007, linking preservatives and artificial color to hyperactivity in children. Artificial colors have been linked to everything from cancer to exacerbating asthma symptoms. Look for FD & C Blue, Red or Yellow on labels in order to avoid them. High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sweetener found in candy, soft drinks and other foods. Some studies have linked it to increasing rates of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, but large amounts of sugar can have that effect. It's best to limit the sweet stuff if possible. Another concern about corn-containing products is the high rate of genetically modified corn.
Sodium benzoate is added to soft drinks in particular and has been linked to hyperactivity, particularly in children who suffer from ADHD. Also, when vitamin C is present, the combination results in benzene, a known carcinogen. {relatedarticles}Trans fats are a known "bad guy" in foods, but trace amounts can be present in foods that are labeled "trans fat-free." Look in the ingredient list for any partially hydrogenated oil - if you find it, then that means the food does contain trans fat. Growth hormones and antibiotics, which help cows produce more milk and prevent infections, are present in non-organic dairy products. Excessive growth hormones can lead to certain types of cancer, and the earlier rate of puberty in children has been attributed to growth hormones, also known as rBGH. Look for organic milk or those labeled "hormone-free." Stick with whole foods that have minimal processing to make the best choices for your kids.