What do frozen pizza, canned fruit, fried chips, can sodas, tinned vegetables and microwaved pies (just to mention a few) have in common? They all contain food additives or chemicals that can be dangerous for your health when consumed in excess.
Over the last few decades, the number of chemicals added to processed foods has increased, the addition of this chemicals or preservatives extends life shelves and even more, manufactures overuse them to make them look more appealing to consumers, is a matter of fact that most of these techniques are used to attract not only adults but children.
In a recent policy statement entitled “Food Additives and Child Health” by the American Academy of Pediatrics , it points out and warns about excess processed food intake.
As children, the dose of any given chemical ends up being more toxic, so they can be more at risk of harm than adults.
In particular, the policy statement warns about six harmful additives:
- Bisphenols, such as BPA: They can act like the hormone estrogen and interfere with puberty, a rise in estrogen in males can also increase body fat.
- Phthalates: These can also act like hormones, interfering with male genital development, and can increase the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. They are often found in things like nail polish, hairsprays, lotions, and fragrances.
- Perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs): They can lead to problems with the immune system and thyroid gland.
- Perchlorate: This chemical also interferes with thyroid function, and can disrupt early brain development. It’s found in some dry food packaging, it’s used to decrease static electricity.
- Artificial food colors: These have been found to increase symptoms in children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. They are found in all sorts of food products, but especially those marketed for children.
- Nitrates and nitrites: These can interfere with the increase of risk of certain cancers. They are used to preserve food and enhance its color. They are commonly found in frozen processed packaged meats.
ADDED REFINED SUGAR
The consumption of refined sugar in the world has grown to enormous proportions, refined sugar is one of the most used added ingredients in processed food, some chocolate cookies, and other sugary snacks have outrageous concentrations of up to 40% or more total caloric value only from added refined sugars.
Excess in refined sugar has been related to cause blood glucose roller coasters and proliferation of bad bacteria , aside from that, the metabolism of high intakes of refined sugars requires the use of vitamins and minerals that can lead to micronutrients deficiencies.
Consumption of refined sugar is a major cause of magnesium deficiency , and magnesium deficiency can cause high blood pressure, neurological impairments like headaches and other metabolic problems.
Sodas are a major source of refined sugar intake, a can of soda can contain 5-10 teaspoons of refined sugar, the same as industrial juices and other tea energy drinks.
Other so-called “diet” sodas contain a substitute of refined sugar called aspartame, aspartame does not bring caloric value, but as a molecule that our body cannot break down, it has been associated with toxicity effects when consumed in excess .
Other artificial sweeteners like xylitol that are found in mostly all processed food can be also detrimental to health .
The quality profile of nutrients in foods dictates the outcome in our body, processed food is exposed to chemical reactions, added synthetic substances and heat manipulation that really alters its natural chemical structure and therefore its nutritional value, from a nutritional point of view the best way to consume foods is by the method in bring out the best digestibility and absorption, most of the fruits are meant to be eaten raw, without heat exposure, but some vegetables may need help of a little heat exposure to eliminate anti-nutrients and be more readily bioavailable to human consumption, cereals and meats need more exposure to heat but not too much that denatures proteins.
In WholeFort we take this into consideration and offer products with the best nutritional profile, we are additive and chemical-free, without refined sugar addition, our cereals micronutrient composition speaks for itself, the high fiber content in our products ensures that no harmful prolonged heat process exposure was used, pound for pound our cereals is one of the best when it comes to nutritional nourishment.
REFERENCES- Written by Antonio Reyes RDN
Trasande L, Shaffer RM, Sathyanarayana S; AAP COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. Food Additives and Child Health. Pediatrics. 2018.
Walker AW, Ince J, Duncan SH, Webster LM, Holtrop G, Ze X, et al. Dominant and diet responsive groups of bacteria within the human colonic microbiota. ISME J. 2011.
Vormann J. Magnesium: nutrition and metabolism. Mol Aspects Med 2003.
Gallus, S., Scotti, L., Negri, E., Talamini, R., Franceschi, S., Montella,M., et al. Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in a network of case-control studies. Annals of Oncology. 2007.
American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2004.