Tag Archives: Food

Food Additives Affect Behavior

On average 30% of foods in our daily diet are processed foods. These are foods that come in a box or a can and have many ingredients that are hard to pronounce, containing food starches, gums, preservatives, and colorings. Many processed foods have to be enriched, adding inorganic minerals and vitamins to compensate for the nutrition lost in the processing of the food. Some people believe enriched foods are good enough, and we will be able to absorb their nutrients sufficiently to benefit from them. But what about the great increase in type II diabetes in the past few years, seen especially now in children? What about the increase in Attention Deficit Disorder and behavioral problems in schools? Adults are now getting symptoms of Alzheimer’s more quickly than before, and are suffering from chronic diseases earlier in life.

The first suggestion I tell parents who are struggling with a hyperactive child is to stay away from any food colorings, especially the added colorings in juices, cereals, snacks, and vitamin supplements. These food colorings affect the functioning of the nervous system. Our liver cannot break down these chemicals and they affect our neurotransmitters, and eventually our thinking ability. It is amazing the amount of food coloring found in processed foods. Significant increases in hyperactivity occur after getting 20 mg. of food coloring per day, which is much less than the amount found in many processed foods today.

When food additives are added to natural foods both physical and behavioral problems can occur. The three most common symptoms found when we get too many food additives are headaches, anxiety, and upset stomach. Common food additives to watch out for, beside food colorings, are preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine. Preservatives are found in all processed foods, and even in some of the natural foods such as fruits and vegetables. It is difficult to get all fresh food unless you grow it yourself. Preservatives prevent spoilage of food so that it can be transported from the farm or factory to our grocery stores.

The FDA generally regards each of these food additives as safe, at least in small quantities. But when combining them in foods and then looking at the potential cumulative effect, we have to realize that the more preservative and food additives we get on a daily basis, the more our liver has to detoxify. That is why headaches and bloating are common symptoms of too many food additives.

Among the many factors that shape the lives of children, nutrition often plays a critical role. What children eat during their growing years has a great effect on the way they think, learn, and act. Many studies have found, for example, that children with higher intakes of antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals do better in school than those children whose diets are lower in these nutrients. Others studies show that children who are exposed to too many environmental chemicals or heavy metals in the air and water have more trouble learning and remembering, and have more nervous system disorders.

The Feingold program is a children’s nutritional program that recommends a diet based on foods that do not contain artificial flavors, preservatives, and food colorings. Numerous research studies found that symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder improved between 50 and 70% of the time while children followed this nutritional program.

One study, published in Lancet in 1985, showed that 79% of hyperactive children had symptoms improve when food chemicals were removed from their diet. Then when the food chemicals were re-introduced the symptoms returned. Sugar was found to have a similar detrimental effect as food chemicals. In controlled studies done at juvenile correctional facilities in the 1980s, they found that behavior improved in 47% of the 12 facilities that took part in the Feingold program, which included over 8000 juveniles.

Many health issues are caused by lack of bioavailable nutrition in our diet. Our digestive system tries to absorb nutrients from the foods we eat. Depending on the state of the food – baked, broiled, microwaved, or the additives added, our body can actually get more stressed eating foods that are hard for our liver to metabolize. This is why the National Cancer Institute keeps raising the number of fruits and vegetables recommended daily to prevent cancer, and keep our immune system healthy. This is another reason we are seeing earlier signs of indigestion and heartburn in children. The foods we put in our body have so many preservatives, and chemicals, and not enough real nutrition to be beneficial.

Cat Food – 7 Tips On What To Avoid Feeding Your Cat

Serious pet owners have heard about why they need to make sure that they feed their cat a proper cat diet, and why they need to avoid bad commercial cat food. If you are buying cat food from major retailers, you might be in for a big surprise. The cat food that you find labeled “Premium Cat Food” might not actually be as great for your beloved cat as you would believe. The fact is that the pet food industry has many dirty little secrets that they just do not want consumers to know. Before you pick up that next bad of cat chow, learn a little bit more about the industry and then make your decision.

1. The pet food labels that you see on shelves use weasel words to trick you. Weasel words are words that sounds very promising, but do not actually mean anything informative. Words like “premium,” “choice,” and “quality” are slapped on labels, and according to the rules, it’s perfectly legal to do so as long as they don’t make a guarantee about the ingredients in the food, or the food itself. Premium is a word that is purely and simply, a marketing term. It is on the label to encourage you to buy, and does nothing more than that. Bad commercial cat food sounds a lot more appetizing with the right labels, after all.

2. Reading the ingredients can tell you if the cat food in question is worth buying. Low quality pet food will often have “meat and bone meal” as a primary ingredient. In simple terms, “meat and bone meal” is a mixture of animal intestines, diseased tissues, bone parts, and sometimes even the remains of euthanized cats, dogs, and sheep. Meat by-products and animal digest also have similar ingredients. This is why many pets get sick from bad commercial cat food.

3. There is less quality control in pet food than in human food. Just like with the food that you eat, there are different levels of pet food quality. Each bag of pet food comes with a guaranteed analysis of the ingredients in the food, where you can learn about the percentage of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The analysis does not tell you about the sources of the protein and some of the pet food manufacturers to use low-nutrition sources like chicken feet to add a higher protein rating to their pet food. In addition, many of them use euthanized animals due to illness in the pet food. A proper cat diet is difficult to get if you do not know this simple trick.

4. The best cat food has quality human grade ingredients. This should make common sense, but it often does not. Many pet food companies will say that they use human grade ingredients, but only use one or two ingredients worth human consumption. In order to make sure that your pet food is 100% human grade, it is important to choose APHIS European certified food. When European countries import pet food from the United States, they demand that all ingredients are human grade. Use that little law as a way to keep yourself from buying bottom tier food.

5. Healthier cat food has healthy bacteria in it called probiotics in human food. In order to make sure you have a proper cat diet, you need to make sure that the bacteria in your cat’s intestines actually is present in the numbers recommended. Check the label for Acidophilus. If it is not on the label, you need to find healthier cat food for your pet’s immune system or add probiotics and enzymes in the food.

6. The preservatives used in pet food are cancer-causing chemicals. These preservatives include such dangerous ones as BHT and BHA and both chemicals cause cancer and general malaise. When picking your pet food, make an effort to search for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E or natural mixed tocopherols. A proper cat diet will be free of BHT.

7. Chelated minerals are easier to process. Your pet needs minerals like copper, iron, and zinc in their diet. Minerals are difficult to absorb, whether you are human or animal. Using a process called chelating; science has made it easier for animals to get the minerals that they need. Healthier cat food will have chelated minerals listed in the ingredient statement.

Many pet food manufactures out there seem to have no problem selling low quality pet food to pet owners and sacrificing the health of millions of pets. If you want to avoid buying bad commercial cat food there is something that you can do. You can always choose a high quality cat food instead of the ones that you see lining most store shelves.