Packaged and processed foods are a part of the daily lives of many families. As tasty and tempting they may seem to be, they’re all comprised of some or the other preservative and additive. Thanks to these additives, they remain fresh for a long time and hence people find them very convenient. It’s obviously easier to use packaged foods since it’s less effort and one doesn’t have to spend much time cooking healthy food. A lot of kids get addicted to all these foods and if you think it’s any less worse than a drug addiction then you’re mistaken.
All these foods include an unhealthy amount of sugar, salt and fat.. Processed foods come with plenty of side effects including weight gain, digestive disorders, skin problems and cancer to name a few. With the high levels of obesity and food allergies these days, it is of significant importance to gain knowledge about what you eat and feed your children.
From soft drinks to sports drinks, cookies and candies, all contain artificial dyes and colours. There are many natural food colouring agents but most restaurants and bakeries abstain from using these as artificial ones are much cheaper and make the food products more visually alluring. This benefits the manufacturer as the sales increase but it can seriously damage the consumers.
Kids always get attracted to these packaged items as they look nice and fancy but what you don’t know is that it can cause various behavioural problems in them like increased temper tantrums, ADD and hyperactivity. It has been stated that every child could benefit from cutting out artificial food colorings from their diet.
Artificial sweeteners are like small doses of poison as they can alter the brain cells. They have also been linked to side effects like depression, hallucinations, weight gain and can cause issues such as epilepsy and brain tumors. You will be surprised to know that these sweeteners can be found in many of children’s medicines and vitamins as well, along with chewing gum and diet soda.
Even elevated consumption of refined sugar can cause problems. Soft drinks and packaged fruit juices contain high levels of sugar so they should be avoided at all costs. According to research, three year-olds who drink packaged fruit juices tend to lose their temper easily, have trouble falling asleep, lack concentration and interrupt others. Make some fresh orange juice at home for your children as it is a natural form of fiber and contains lots of vitamin C.
Children who have a high sugar intake tend to consume less of protein. Another chemical used very commonly in foods is MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). It is used to bring out the flavour in foods. These days MSG may be found in almost any processed and packaged food item.
Some of the artificial colours one needs to watch out for are tartrazine, sunset yellow, quinoline yellow, ponceau red, erythrosine and indigo carmine. The most common preservatives to be aware of are found in margarine and cakes, juices and soft drinks, fruit drinks and sausages, bread and bakery products respectively.
Asthma is also related to these additives and parents are usually not aware that sulphite preservatives can create breathing problems in asthmatic children. It is found in sausages, fruit drinks and dried fruits.
It is very important to read labels before purchasing any food item and if you find any of the artificial additives mentioned, avoid picking it up.
Drinking lots of pure water is essential for your body to flush out toxins from your system and keep you hydrated. Try to cook everything from scratch in your home instead of using market products and if possible feed your children more whole organic foods.
You could also maintain a food diary to keep a check on the foods that affect your family negatively. Most importantly, if the list of ingredients is too long on a packaged item, it’s probably filled with a whole lot of additives. Go natural while doing the same for your kid and you’ll definitely notice the difference, for the better of course.