10 Worst Foods For Kids – What Makes Kids Sick And The Solution
It is incredible what is in the grocery store that is directly marketed to our children. For starters, check out the aisle full of breakfast cereals. There are so many cereals that are full of sugar, artificial dyes, preservatives and GMO (genetically modified organism) ingredients. It’s not good seeing how much diabetes and obesity are dominating the stage on which our children play. It’s sad and dangerous. I remember as a kid I loved lucky charm – back then it had sugar in it, now it has high fructose corn syrup in it instead which is more than 100 times sweeter and more addictive. These ingredients have significantpotential to cause behavior problems, increase risk of cancer, neurological irritation to vulnerable developing brains, adversely affect their learning processes, and their ability to focus. This is just the beginning of what awaits you on the grocery shelves that can impair your children’s potential. You really are what you eat and so are your children. Just think about that for a moment…..the 10 worst foods for kids and what makes kids sick is my focus today.
Sugary Drinks and Foods-This Is What Makes Kids Sick
The amount of sugar we consume today is staggering. It is by far one of the worst foods for kids if you can call it a food at all. Without going in to a lot of details, I think we all know that some sugar is needed in the diet and we can convert it from carbohydrates. Processed sugars are however really not needed at all. They are a treat at best. One of the worst things kids get too much of is fruit juice and soda pop. This is one way to ensure that you go to the dentist a lot more frequently. Eating candy a few times a year on holidays is fun for the kids, but an everyday occurrence will also cause cavity formation at an accelerated rate. Many of the public schools have substituted juice vending machines for pop machines. At the end of the day there isn’t much of a difference. Cake and ice cream on birthdays is fun, I agree, but when you eat it on 20-26 birthdays a year in your classroom and on field trips and anytime your kids need to be bribed to go along with something they don’t want to do, well, that spells dental catastrophe, suppressed immune systems and behavior problems.
Bathing your teeth in sugar with carbonated beverages, candy and junk food most of the day will rob you and your children of free time better spent elsewhere having fun and rob you of your money as well as guarantee anxiety and pain at the dentist. God help the dental office that is still giving out lollipops for tolerating a dental visit. Most of them have at least changed to handing out cheap plastic toys but not all have done so. Better but still not good. Most of the plastic toys are full of hidden toxins when you look closer and most are made in China. That’s a topic by itself.
Kids who consume daily juices, cake, ice cream, candy, junk food, processed snack food and eat out at fast food places regularly are sick far more frequently and have more illnesses that require a doctor visit than kids that don’t or rarely consume them.
Instead, just give your kids plenty of filtered water all day long, maybe a cup of milk a day as long as they are over 12 months of age, and healthy whole foods both cooked and raw. On a special occasion if you allow a soda, make sure it’s made with real sugar and not High Fructose Corn Syrup and has as few preservatives as possible. Sodium Benzoate although not good for you is hard to avoid even in the sodas that are less bad for you.
GMO Foods – Just Avoid them If And When You Can
This is one of the the worst types of foods to give to your kids. Don’t give it to your pets either. You will see advertising and studies trying to convince you that GMO food (Genetically Modified Organism) is safe or GRAS ( generally regarded as safe) ….not so fast. We don’t really know this but they want you to believe they are safe.
Genetically modified foods, GM foods or genetically engineered foods, are foods produced from organisms that have had changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering vs traditional cross breeding.The industy does this to make the food more resistant to pesticides for example or made to have a longer shelf life. This food is said to be GRAS ( generally regarded as safe) when that message is far from the truth.
You have to remember that GMO foods include canola, sugar beets, corn, soybeans, cotton, and in some states sweet corn, iceberg lettuce, papayas and crookneck squash. They are adding more foods to the list slowly as people begin to believe it’s safe to do this science experiment on everyone without any informed consent. No labeling is required on such foods.
Even the coloring in coke is made from genetically modified corn. Why all the concern? Studies on GMO foods in mice were not carried out long enough to include the data that demonstrated tumor formation when mice were fed GMO potatoes. The studies were cut short and the data were published to show what they wanted it to show – that GMO food is safe and doesn’t promote cancer of any kind.
I don’t feed GMO foods to my children, although it is hard to avoid them 100% of the time everywhere we go. That doesn’t make me happy so when traveling we load up on organic snacks, fruits, bellpeppers and other cut up vegetables as well as bread. Some of my munchkins will eat a bellpepper like an apple. They love a colors especially the yellow, orange and red ones the best. Taking a cooler with you on car trips makes eating healthy much easier.
It’s my goal to avoid GMO food as much as possible in the world we live in. I have to be able to say to myself in the future that I tried my very best with all of them, and educated them about the foods and things that can harm them over time as well as those that harm in the short term.
Instead of GMO foods, give them organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible and eat out selectively and ask questions about the food you are ordering. Bring your own salad dressing and ask them to leave out the vegetable oils when cooking your meal. Vegetable oils are disease producing and cause inflammation inside the lining of your blood vessels leading to heart disease over time.
The more people do this (question how food is prepared and bring their own salad dressing etc) the more restaurants will start changing what they do and how they do it. The public has a lot of power but rarely use it.
Synthetic Dyes/Colorants In Food
Your children are delighted to see colorful bottles of liquids and cartoons on the front of cereal boxes that look like comic books or their favorite animated character. It’s fun right? I mean they just saw that latest animated movie last night or have an action figure at home on a t-shirt or a pair of shoes. It is marketing with a stroke of genius. The food industry knows it too.
I make time to talk to my kids about why food is packaged this way and dyed in bright colors to lure them in. Once they understand, they actually almost always choose a better option. Taking them to the grocery store is an education in and of itself.
Food dye is known to cause all types of reactions none of which are fun to deal with. Armed with the knowledge that food dyes are made from petroleum is enough to make me stop using them. They are dumped in processed foods to make them more attractive to us. The FDA is ok with using them in processed food, yet we know they can cause medical problems for many people.
Happiness might be a piece of cake just make sure it’s a healthy cake recipe made from scratch and free of synthetic dyes.
Many allergic reactions to dyes have been well documented as well as causing other immune disorders. The use of dyes is widespread in the food and cosmetic industries and we have seen it’s use increase more than 400-500% over the last 5 decades. In that same time frame, Attention deficit disorder (ADD), Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aggressive behavior disorders and rashes have shot through the roof.
What is an antigen? It’s something that is foreign to your body and it can set off a cascade of immune reactions and often neurologic reactions that are not easy to treat.
Better stated, it is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies. This happens with the biggest punch by ingesting those toxins in our food. When the toxin gets into our body through our food, our immune system is challenged to a larger degree according to a study done by the Altern Ther Health Med. 2015;21 Suppl 1:52-62
Another way the synthetic colors get in is through our skin from the use of cosmetics, lotions, creams, sunscreens etc. These dyes are small particle sizes and bind with protein in our body igniting an inflammatory response from the immune system leading to autoimmune diseases and neurological disorders. The cause is in our diets and environment so the solution is to change our diets and sometimes our environment.
The treatment shouldn’t be worse than the disease. Medication can cover up the problem and sometimes make you feel worse, whereas a change in diet can make you better without side effects.
The statistics from the CDC (centers for disease control) site a 41% increase in ADHD diagnoses in boys in high school in the past 10-12 years. This is cause for concern as is the appalling amount of synthetic dyes that are allowed by the FDA in our food, drugs, and cosmetics. Most people walking around are totally unaware of the terrible consequences of their daily consumption of these toxins.
If you don’t know what poison or harmful ingredients are in something being sold to you, you are left to find out down the road watching your child break out in rashes, having allergic reactions or worse. Trying to figure out what is causing their problems isn’t easy and is often only done by an elimination diet. This is where you start them out on organic fruits and vegetables with rice and pure water, than re-introduce one food at a time each week and keep track of any reactions. Follow up with your health care provider is essential.
Become a label reader and question everything that is in your food, or cook more often at home, avoid the colorful drinks and juice and reach for water instead. Avoid food dye at the store, go on line and order natural dyes made from vegetables if you are making a dessert. Dying eggs or decorating cupcakes/ dying frosting. Kids get used to what you put in front of them day after day, they eat what you encourage them to eat most of the time. They are your kids, so take every opportunity to educate them about why you want them to eat certain foods and not consume others. That education at home is very valuable for a lifetime of healthy choices. We all have a small window of opportunity to convince them to consider carefully what they put in their mouths at every turn. We need to make a great impression on them while we can.
Specific Foods That Shouldn’t Be Given To Your Kids
The following foods are on this list due to either having GMO ingredients, preservatives, High Fructose Corn Syrup in them, sugar content is too high, sodium nitrites are used, low micronutrient content, cavity risk is too high or just sources of empty calories.
1. Goldfish crackers. Check the organic section of the store for an alternative.
2. Soda pop and fruit juices
3. Pop tarts and breakfast cereals-loaded with sugar. The goal here is buying cereal with sugar less than 8 grams per serving.
4. Fruit roll-ups. Just forget these. You might as well put a bowl of sugar in front of them.
5. Chocolate milk. They don’t need this. A rare treat maybe, but there is an organic version of this too.
6. Fast food from drive-through windows across America-no super size me mentality needed.
7. Frozen dinners marketed to kids with fun pictures on them. Just don’t buy them.
8. Most yogurts on the market including the ones in tubes for them to squeeze frozen or not. They are very high in sugar and the probiotics or live cultures that are on the label don’t do much for anyone. Instead, make your own yogurt or use it once in awhile and buy organic versions only. They are often full of food dyes and corn syrup otherwise.
9. Lunchables are one of worst foods on this list, if you look at the ingredient list you will see why. Just don’t give them to your kids. Non-organic jerky of any type will contain nitrites for preservation and are linked to cancer.
10. Donuts, twinkies and similar food from convenience stores are off limits if you are sticking to healthier alternatives for your kids. When we buy a product, we are supporting those companies and being part of the consequences good or bad of consuming them.
Check out this comprehensive information on ingredients to avoid Click Here!
Better Alternatives to the above list would be an organic processed choice or homemade version, no pop , drinking pure filtered water, cooking more at home so you know what is in your food.
I hate to break this to you but dairy isn’t really needed in our diets – we can easily get our calcium from other foods especially if we juice carrots with apples. Raw organic cheese is better if you can’t resist. Dairy products taste good and nearly everyone likes cheese, but they thicken mucus and cause intestinal problems and more.
Processed food in general even if it’s organic isn’t a great choice but the organic ones are better or should I say considerably less toxic.
The best choice is to eat whole foods, wash them well or peel them, drink plenty of pure filtered water in a way that takes the fluoride out as well as the rest of the bad stuff and limit dairy and red meat consumption. Avoid all oils except for coconut oil when cooking and get most of your oils from avocados, nuts and seeds that can be added to oatmeal and salads. Extra virgin olive oil drisseled over salad with balsamic vinegar or a bit of salsa is great but don’t cook with olive oil as it turns to transfats when heated too much.
Remember that unless the meat you eat is labeled organic or you are raising your own chickens or other animals and feeding them organic grain, you are eating meet that is genetically modified. As far as water goes, Distilled water or Reverse Osmosis water is your best bet instead of tap water.
Keep ’em healthy and happy! Hope this post is helpful to your family.
Dr. Leigh Gilburn
Leave comments or questions below please. I’ll be glad to answer them.