Food Additives and Children

For those of you have endured criticism, even ridicule, for worrying about the chemicals in the food we eat, your fears have now gained credibility from a well respected source, the American Academy of Pediatricians or AAP.  The AAP is voicing its concerns over the proven adverse effects of food additives and the chemicals used in packaging, as well as calling for more due diligence in reviewing the safety of other substances not fully vetted for safety.  This statement coincides with the findings of a new study that demonstrates a strong connection between the nitrites and nitrates in preserved meats and mania.  The lead investigator involved in the latter study has gone on record as saying that his research is just the tip of the iceberg of understanding of how diet affects our behavioral health.

Although we touched upon this topic in an earlier blog post, it is impossible to overstate the critical importance of feeding children not only nutritious food but also ensuring their diets as natural as possible. It has been estimated that as much as 70% of the chemicals we encounter in our daily lives have never been tested for long term effects on human health.  As detrimental as these synthetic substances may be to adults, it is only reasonable to assume that the effects on children are much greater.

The AAP is especially calling attention to chemicals likely to leach into our children's food from containers and packaging.  The BPA found in many plastic products, for example, has already been shown to negatively impact human health.  In one study, there was a close correlation between the levels of BPA present in urine and weight gain in the teenage females subjects.  Questions about the safety of food containers adds an additional task to parenting.  Not only do we need to read labels for chemical additives, we should also make sure that packaging is free from risky compounds.

Many parents today, tired of having to constantly discipline their children, take a more laissez-faire approach to diet.  Unwilling to swim upstream against the mainstream current that has come to embrace processed foods, these parents allow their kids to eat all of the things that "normal" kids do.  With many diseases on the rise, however, we have to remember that poor nutrition and the chemicals in many foods may eventually threaten the well-being--even the lives--of our most vulnerable family members.  As a mentor of mine was found of saying, you would never standby while your son or daughter tried to run out into the middle of a busy road.  Why, then, would a parent choose to ignore the very real risks posed by letting children eat foods that might harm them?