Cookies, candy, and cereal. Oh my!
October seems to be the transition month from fresh and nutritious summer foods to the crazy holiday foods that could end up doing more harm than the fun of eating it is worth. Many health practitioners of family medicine have been educating on the dangers of food additives for children’s health over the years. Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines urging families to lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food and food packaging.
These food additives are artificial colorings, flavorings, chemicals, and preservatives added to food during processing. We are exposed to indirect chemicals such as adhesives, dyes, coatings, paper, plastic, and other polymers that are introduced to foods during manufacturing and packaging. We are exposed to over 10,000 food additive chemicals daily, this number does not include the chemicals we are exposed to in our environment.
Many of these food additives have not been proven safe for children, as shown by the pediatric community. A 2010 review concluded the FDA cannot guarantee the safety of most ingredients, many of which have been “grandfathered” in.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, common food additives have been linked to endocrine disruption, insulin resistance, reduced immune response, thyroid hormone changes, and neonatal hypothyroidism. The dangers of food additives are especially high during pregnancy, infancy, early childhood, and even in the teenage years when the lungs, endocrine, and nervous system are still developing.
Here are some tips to limit your exposure and protect your children and your family:
- Limit intake of nitrates and nitrites by avoiding processed meats such as deli meats and hot dogs. This is especially true when pregnant.
- Avoid canned foods which are lined with bisphenols. Buy fresh or frozen fruits and veggies when possible.
- Choose local and organic when possible to avoid contaminants and pesticides.
- Avoid plastic containers, whether it’s storage containers or sippy cups. Replacing plastic containers with stainless steel or glass will reduce your exposure to phthalates. If you do use plastic bottles and containers, do not use them to heat food/liquids in the microwave, do not pour hot liquids into them, and hand wash instead of washing in a dishwasher.
- Check the recycling code on the bottom of products, avoiding plastics with codes 3, 6, and 7. These often contain phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols.
- Wrap foods in wax paper instead of plastic wrap.
- Wash hands before handling food and drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that are not peeled.
Micah Hubbard, RN, MSN, FNP-C
|“Checking and double checking the foods and drinks that you give your children takes work, but the assurance that you are giving them quality food is worth the time and effort you put in,” Micah Hubbard says.
If you think your child struggles with the effects of additives, call us to schedule a consult with Micah for pediatric care in Springfield Missouri.
Micah Hubbard is Kare Health and Wellness’s newest addition to the medical staff. As a Family Nurse practitioner, she brings the experience and knowledge to work with families with children who are 7 years old and up. Micah’s personal and professional philosophy of “Treat the whole child, not just the symptom” has given Kare Health and Wellness the opportunity to offer natural and complimentary services to adolescents and young adults.