There are foods that promote health and foods that damage health. As evidenced by the rising childhood obesity rates, children are eating too much food that damages their health. Even if your child is not overweight, the simple offering of unhealthy foods to children, either regularly or as occasional treats or rewards, can create a lifelong taste for these foods, often at the expense of choosing healthy foods.
This information led me to create a list of five foods your kids should NOT be eating:
1. Fruit Juice
Many people think fruit juice is healthy when in fact the complete opposite is true. Many parents offer juice as a healthier option to soda, but fruit juice still contains about eight teaspoons of sugar. Even though the sugar is from fruit, drinking fruit juice is not the same as eating fruit.
- Commercial fruit juices contain lots of simple sugars but not much fiber; they are made from fruit stripped of its skin and pulp, which slow down the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Nutritionists say it is better to eat whole fresh fruit than to consume fruit juice.
- The sugars in fruit juice (fructose) cause a major increase in insulin levels, just like drinking a soda. A distortion of insulin balance leads to hormone and neurotransmitter shifts which increase a child’s risk for ear infections, ADHD, and allergies.
- With its sugar content, it’s no surprise that fruit juice also increases cavities in children. Every time juice washes over their teeth, they are exposed to the damaging effects of sugar.
- Be aware that other fruit drinks are mixtures; they do not contain 100% fruit juice but contain extra sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors, and other ingredients that damage your health.
If your kids already drink a lot of juice it may be hard to switch them over to pure water cold turkey. To wean them off juice, dilute the juice with water. Start slowly by diluting slightly, perhaps 90% juice / 10% water, and keep increasing the water content over time.
The bottom line is that children do not need to eat large amounts of sugar. It is so important to cut sweet drinks out of your child’s diet and switch all of their fluids over to pure water. We are not meant to drink our calories!
Many people let their children eat candy regularly and most people think giving their child candy every now and then as a treat or a reward is OK; it’s all about moderation, right? Here are a few reasons why kids shouldn’t be eating candy at all.
- Extra calories that have no nutritional value and don’t do your body any good.
- Sugar overload. Children don’t need much sugar at all, and especially not from junk food. For more information, read about the 76 ways sugar can ruin your health.
- A mixture of chemicals and artificial flavors. Besides sugar, candy can contain trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and food coloring, all of which have their own health consequences and are among the 12 food additives to avoid.
- Not something to give to children, whose bodies are still developing and in need of great nutrients. Providing even an occasional taste of candy can affect their willingness to eat healthy food or their taste for it. Once they develop a ‘sweet tooth’ it will be harder for them to eat blander, but nutritious, foods. Sugar is an addictive substance!
- Bad for teeth. Sugar can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease.
To help change your mindset, try thinking of candy as a waste of money and something that will lead to health problems, and try thinking of healthy food as fortifying your body with nutrients and fighting disease.
3. Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are made with processed meat parts, then preserved with sodium nitrite (or sodium nitrate), which is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. Studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer including brain tumors in children, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.
Hotdogs can also contain MSG, a flavor enhancer used in many processed foods, which has been labeled as an “excitotoxin,” which, according to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, are “a group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die.”
Mike Adams, editor of NaturalNews.com, lists hot dogs as one of the top five cancer-causing foods. The Cancer Prevention Coalition actually recommends limiting the number of hot dogs that children eat.
Along with hot dogs, doughnuts are also listed among the top five cancer-causing foods. Nutritionally speaking they are one of the worst ways to start your day. Eating a doughnut will throw off your blood sugar and it won’t stay with you so you will be hungry again soon.
- Hydrogenated oils (trans fats): Besides being a cancer factor, trans fats promote heart disease, interrupt metabolic processes, and cause belly fat that crowd the organs and strain the heart.
- White flour: As a refined grain, white flour has a high glycemic index which means that it will raise blood sugar levels more quickly. This will actually accelerate the growth of cancer cells and tumors.
- Sugar: As you’ve read above, sugar is an addictive substance and children do not need much of it. Read about the 76 ways sugar can ruin your health.
- Acrylamides: Formed during the frying process, acrylamides are a cancer-causing substance.
- No nutrients!
5. Fast Food
This quote from Naturalnews.com sums it up pretty well:
Fast food is extremely unhealthy for children. Not only are the foods often fried, homogenized, hydrogenated and otherwise altered, they’re also laced with chemical additives, taste enhancers, processed sugars, petrochemical food coloring, and other unhealthy substances. Strangely, many parents actually reward their children for good behavior by buying them unhealthy fast food meals, thereby creating a psychological association between good feelings and junk food.
For example, did you know that the beef sold to fast food restaurants and used in school lunches is injected with ammonia? Ammonia is a chemical commonly used in glass cleaning and window cleaning products and it also happens to kill e.coli – and the USDA endorses this procedure!
For more information, here are a few articles, books, and movies:
- Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
- Food, Inc.
- Super Size Me
- Surprise Ingredients in Fast Food on Naturalnews.com
- Why You Should Avoid Fast Food at all Costs on Naturalnews.com
I encourage you to eliminate these five foods from your children’s diets and replace them with healthy foods and pure water. If you give your children a taste for HEALTHY foods, it could ultimately make it easier for them to keep up a lifetime of smart eating.
Wendy – ParentingTips365.com