Children are interesting eaters in that they are interested in learning about what they are eating and are interesting to watch as they interact with their foods. A child introduced to good, whole foods by a parent with healthy food attitudes and an open mind toward new foods is more likely to adopt those same attitudes. While it may be impossible to keep your child’s diet entirely free from additives of any kind it is important to try to limit them as much as possible.
Food Additives: The Obvious And The Less Obvious
There are two types of food additives. The first is the obvious additives like sugars, white flour, chemical preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings. These are directly added to the food and should be listed on the label. There are many additives with tricky sounding names including some that are less harmful than their name implies and some that are more harmful.
The other type of additive is the non-direct. These are additives that may get added to the food simply through contact with the packaging materials or during the manufacturing process. Some of these can be more harmful than the additives that are found in the food itself so it is important to consider packaging when choosing food for your child.
Food Additives And Obesity Rates
Obesity has reached nearly epidemic proportions especially in children. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in every 3 children and teens are considered obese. Most of them will suffer from a number of weight related health problems including:
Cardiac disease including heart attack and stroke
Type II Diabetes
Mental health issues including anxiety and depression
These children may also be more likely to be injured or easily over-exerted during even mild exercise. They may have breathing issues such as asthma at higher rates than their normal weight peers.
Some of the increase in obesity has been linked to an indirect food additive called BPA (bisphenol A). Found in the lining of canned foods and in plastics such as water bottles and storage containers, this chemical disrupts a number of chemical processes in the body especially in relation to endocrines. This disruption can attribute to the conditions that lead to weight gain even when the child is given a healthier diet.
Why Food Additives Affect Children More Than Adults
A child and an adult eating the same foods may react differently. Pound for pound, the child is taking in more of that food. Their organs are maturing which means that they may not be able to process or rid themselves of these chemicals as easily as an adult. The longer the chemical is in the system, the higher the risk of negative affects. By the time the chemical is flushed out, it may have already caused enough harm that future food additives will cause even more damage in a vicious cycle that may be nearly impossible to break or to repair.
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