What’s really in our food? Pesticides, MSG, and Food Dye
I believe it is very important to feed your children organic food free of artificial ingredients. I recently recommended the book Superbaby, which has a chapter on how to feed your child. The section on pesticides and food additives is particularly compelling. I thought I’d share some of the information from that chapter here:
- By feeding your children organic food, you eliminate nearly 90% of their pesticide exposure.
- After only 5 days on an organic diet, children in a University of Washington study found pesticide levels nearly undetectable.
- There are currently 600 chemicals that farmers are legally allowed to use on produce. At least 50 of these are classified as carcinogenic, according to the FDA.
- Nine out of ten kids under the age of 5 are exposed to 13 different neurotoxic insecticides in baby foods, according to the EWG.
- Some pesticides in apple, peach, grape, and pear baby food, consumed by 85,000 children every day, exceed the federal safety standard by a factor of ten or more.
- 20 million children 5 and under consume an average of 8 pesticides a day.
- Drinking nonorganic apple juice may expose your 2-yr old to as many as 80 different pesticides, an exposure that is 20 times that of his mother based on body weight.
- The FDA does not determine if low dose exposure is safe. They only measure the effect of high doses.
- The FDA estimates that 80% of our pesticide exposure comes from food. The remaining exposure is from water and pesticides used in and around our homes.
The book also discuses the dangers of MSG and glutamic acid. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer that tricks your body into thinking there is more protein in the food than is actually there. MSG “allows food producers to cut down on the quality and cost while making up for the loss of flavor caused by the omission of real ingredients by adding this flavor enhancer.”
- MSG stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, causing blood sugar levels to drop, making your child hungry again within a short period of time.
- Scientists call glutamic acid an excitotoxin, meaning it excites brain cells to death. Since the blood-brain barrier in children is not properly developed, they need to avoid glutamic acid in their diets. When neurons receive glutamate, they become overstimulated. This overexcitement leads to an influx of calcium, which triggers an influx of free radicals that cause cell death. Neurons that die do no regenerate.
- Studies on animals found that low-dose shots of MSG over the course of eleven days resulted in shorter, fatter, and more hyperactive animals with reduced intelligence.
- Dr. Russel Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins, believes that the consumption of additives like glutamic acid may be leading to the increasing behavioral problems, such as uncontrollable outbursts of anger and hyperactivity, in children.
- MSG has been linked to conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, multiple sclerosis, etc.
- Food additives that always contain MSG: autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract. Foods that frequently contain MSG: bouillon, broth, flavoring, malt extract, natural beef or chicken flavoring, natural flavoring, seasoning, spices, stock. Soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, and whey protein concentrate may contain MSG.
I have previously posted about how food coloring has been linked to hyperactivity in children. Food dyes like Blue 1, Red 40, and Yellow 6 are petroleum derived. The FDA says that Americans consume five times more food dye than they did 30 years ago. The FDA allows 9 synthetic colors in food in the U.S. In the United Kingdtom though, six of those synthetic colors were eliminated in 2009. Companies that sell products in the UK and US now make dye-free versions for the UK (orange soda there gets its bright color from pumpkin and carrot extract, Nutrigrain cereal bars get their color from beet and paprika extract, strawberry sundaes at McDonalds are colored with real strawberries). Here in the US, all those foods are colored with artificial dyes instead. Even our orange peels are injected with Citrus Red 2 to make them look more appealing. You can look for which of your child’s foods contain unhealthy food dyes on this website: http://www.iatp.org/brainfoodselector/.