Tag Archives: preservatives

New research linking preservative with ADHD

FoodFacts.com wants to call our community’s attention to a new study from the Journal of Attention Disorders. So many times we read about a possible exacerbation of attention difficulties from various food preservatives and additives and this new study has found something that might appear to be more than a possible exacerbation.

Sodium benzoate is a preservative found in many different food products and beverages. It has long been recognized as generally safe in small amounts. And it has been recnogized to have harmful effects in certain circumstances. Its use is to prevent spoilage. And you’ll see it most often in acidic products like soda, jelly or jam or sauerkraut. Possible problems have been allergic reactions and the suggestion that it is a trigger for hyperactivity in children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. In addition, it is known to actually form benzene when combined with ascorbic acid. While the amount of benzene formed appears to be low, it does appear that the amounts of benzene formed in some beverages would be an actual health concern, since benzene has been linked to elevated risks for leukemia and other blood cancer. So, generally, sodium benzoate is a preservative that is – and has been – of concern.

This new study focused on college students who habitually consumed high levels of beverages containing sodium benzoate, and those who did not. 475 students took part in the study in 2010. They were each asked about their consumption of beverages containing sodium benzoate. They were all assessed for symptoms of ADHD.

The study clearly found that consumption of beverages containing sodium benzoate had a significant association with symptoms for ADHD.

There were 67 students who displayed symptoms of ADHD who reported consuming more than 35 servings per month of beverages containing sodium benzoate. These students scored a 4 or more on the symptom scale used. On the lower end were students consuming 17 servings per month of beverages containing sodium benzoate, who had the least amount of symptoms.

While further research is certainly needed, this study displays a recorded link between ADHD and sodium benzoate.

FoodFacts.com encourages our community, as always, to read labels carefully. While sodium benzoate is a common ingredient in sodas, it is present in other food products as well. Stay alert for the presence of this preservative on ingredient lists regardless of the food category.

The Effect of Food Additives on Your Child’s Health

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Foodfacts.com wants to make everyone more aware of the harmful effects of Food Additives on Your Child’s Health. Do you ever wonder how Jello gets its pretty colors? Or how the taste of vanilla can exist in food that doesn’t contain vanilla beans? Additives and chemicals are added to our everyday foods and beverages and most have nothing to do with nutritional value. They exist to fulfill consumer’s expectation of perfection. We know that Mother Nature may not produce a perfect fruit or vegetable so we keep them unblemished with the use of fungicides, pesticides and herbicides. With the continued high demand from consumers for meals that are easy to prepare and taste good, the industry of food additives in the category of flavorings and flavor enhancers is expected to top $1.46 billion this year.

Food additives are not new (originally they were made from coal tar oil) and children have been eating them for decades. So why do we care about them now?

Today our children are exposed to additives and chemicals everyday all day. Instead of the occasional candy, or special occasion pink cupcakes, children growing up in the United States are digesting chemicals from breakfast until bedtime. Multi-colored toothpaste, colored breakfast cereals, artificial whip toppings, bubble gum, liquid medicine and highly processed convenience foods in lunchboxes (can you say Lunchables?) More children are drinking soft drinks with artificial color, flavor, caffeine and aspartame. The more they have the more they crave, and for a tired parent, sometimes the path of least resistance becomes the choice.

More importantly, pesticides, hormones and synthetic food additives have been shown to affect brain development, behavior and learning abilities in children. What you put in your shopping cart is more important than ever!

FOOD DYES Listed on the ingredients label as “Yellow No. 5″, “Red #3″, etc., dyes are used primarily to make food appear fresher than it is, or in the case of many foods made for children, to attract them with bright colors. They are used in breakfast cereals, drinks, candy, bakery goods, puddings, gelatin desserts, just to name a few. Instead, look for carrots and beets as natural coloring agents on the label.

ARTIFICIAL FLAVORINGS Are made up of hundreds of combinations of chemicals, both natural and synthetic. A popular flavoring agent is “vanillin”, also listed as “vanilla flavoring”. This flavoring agent is made from the waste product of paper mills. Instead, look for “pure vanilla” on the label. MSG, salt and sodium containing agents are popular food additives. MSG has been linked to brain damage and infertility in laboratory animals and many people who eat MSG complain of headaches, chest pains and numbness. It’s primarily used to intensify flavor in meats, condiments, pickles, soups, candy and baked goods.

PRESERVATIVES There are about one hundred preservatives, which are used to prevent food from going “bad”. BHA, BHT and TBHQ are three commonly used preservatives. They may also be listed as “anti-oxidants” because they prevent the fats in food from “oxidizing” or spoiling. (There are natural and beneficial anti-oxidants but they are more expensive than the synthetic versions that are currently widely used.) You can find them in beverages, ice cream, candy, baked goods, soup bases, potatoes, breakfast cereals, dry mixes, enriched rice, animal fats and shortenings containing animal fats. These preservatives can cause allergic reactions and have been known to affect kidney and liver functions, brain function and may also convert other ingested substances into cancer-causing additives.

Nitrates, nitrites and sulfites, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate and citric acid are preservatives that trigger terrible symptoms in allergy sensitive kids, but for some they are deadly. Nitrates and Nitrites are used as a color fixative in cured meats, and studies have linked them to cancer. Sulfites are used for their anti-browning effects and to keep fruits and vegetables crisp longer.

SWEETENERS - Refined starches, high-fructose corn syrup and all artificial sweeteners (NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet’n Low, Sucralose, Acesulfame-K) not only rob your children of their health, but artificial sweeteners have been linked to brain damage, MS, Lupus and other central nervous disorders. Excessive sugar intake in children is also a contributing factor to our current childhood obesity epidemic.

As the primary grocery shopper, you are the most important person in your family’s health. By reading labels and selecting wisely, you can protect your family and affect the sales of more wholesome foods.

Article provided by www.familymagazinegroup.com