Think all gluten-free foods marketed for kids are healthy? Think again.
Food labels have become increasingly difficult to understand. Labels such as “wholesome” and “healthy” are often written all over packaged foods in the grocery store, but these words really have little meaning. These are all marketing tactics to get you to buy food that is usually poor in nutritional quality or loaded with processed ingredients.
For example, many mainstream boxed cereal companies are now promoting many of their products as gluten-free and free of artificial colors and flavors, yet many still have toxic chemical preservatives in them.
In this major boxed cereal brand (photo right), the preservative BHT, or butylated hydroxytoluene, is used to keep the gluten-free cereal fresh. BHT is a preservative used in food and personal care products. It has been linked with health conditions as benign as skin and eye irritation to more severe issues like organ system toxicity (and a carcinogen in animal studies).
Is this what you really want to give to your kids? Check out these 10 Chemical Additives in Gluten Free Foods for Kids.
What You Can Do?
Pay attention to food labels. Check all gluten-free foods for chemical food additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients. And when in doubt – if you can’t pronounce it then it’s probably a chemical additive so avoid it.
Here’s my Top 10 List of Ingredients to Avoid:
- Artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium and saccharin) are commonly found in diet and sugar-free foods like sodas, pudding and yogurt. These sweeteners have been linked to neurological disorders, seizures, migraines and more.
- Artificial dyes are found in candy, cereals, sports drinks, ice cream, fruit cocktails and many other packaged foods. These dyes have been linked to behavioral issues in children.
- Artificial flavors can be found in many packaged foods such as boxed rice or pasta meals, sodas, sports drinks, cereals, frozen waffles, yogurt and more. These ingredients have been linked with fatigue, headaches, allergies, cancer and other health issues.
- Preservatives such as BHT, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) can be found in cereals, potato chips, chewing gum, shortening and candy. They have been linked to neurological issues, behavioral problems and are believed to be carcinogenic.
- Mono- and di-gylcerides are found in peanut butter, ice cream, bakery products, chewing gum, shortening, whipped toppings and margarine. They have been linked to birth defects and believed to be carcinogenic.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be found in canned soup, frozen dinners, lunch meat, seasonings, snack foods and sauces. They are linked to headaches, fatigue, depression and obesity.
- Potassium bromate is commonly found in white flour, breads and rolls. This ingredient may seem benign but it’s been linked to cancer in animals.
- Refine sugars (such as high fructose corn syrup) can be found in bread, candy, flavored yogurt, cereals, condiments, salad dressing and other packaged foods. It’s been linked to diabetes, obesity and mood disorders.
- Sodium nitrate is most commonly found in cured meat – such as deli meat, hot dogs, sausages, beef jerky and other processed meat. It can cause migraines and believed to be carcinogenic.
- Sulfur dioxide can be found in soft drinks, dried fruit (even those labeled as “healthy”) fruit juices, vinegar and some potato products. It’s been linked to bronchial issues and hypotension.
Get out my book, Gluten Free, Real Food Recipes for Kids. You’ll learn more about what foods and ingredients to avoid AND get real food nutrition tips – such as the 4 foods your kids should be eating (and probably aren’t).
Plus, there are 70+ easy, no fuss gluten-free recipes your kids will love – from appetizers and snacks to main meals to beverages and desserts. I’ve also included tutorials on how to make basics such as gluten-free breads, tortillas and more.
Get It Now
You can get Gluten Free, Real Food Recipes for Kids now for just $22.95.
Feature image credit: Flickr / Au Kirk
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