As a mother I am always trying to protect my kids in any way possible. Its natural to do everything in our power to block out bad language on TV, inappropriate websites, bad influences at school … well you get the point.
But what if I told you that every week you are unknowingly putting your children in danger?
Do I have your attention now?
The foods you bring into your home can help or harm your children and I want to take a few moments to teach you some of what I’m learning while getting my Masters in Nutrition:
One of the biggest culprits in poor nutrition for children is High Fructose Corn Syrup.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in everything from cookies, ice cream, yogurt, ketchup, juice, crackers, jellies and jams, cough syrup, applesauce, maple syrup and the list goes on and on.
Now, let me ask you a question, how many of these items do you and your children consume?
Go and look through your refrigerator and cabinets and read the labels of some of your kid’s favorite snacks. I’m telling you unless you’re already a label reader you are going to be SHOCKED.
I consider myself to be pretty vigilante when it comes to what I’ll feed my kids and I was shocked when I went to purchase relish for my daughter’s hot dogs (nitrate & preservative free hot dogs). I discovered relish has HFCS as the FIRST ingredient. But, I noticed next to it was a sugar free version so I thought, “Oh, ok I’ll buy that”. But, when I looked at the label it contained Splenda.
So, the choices were contribute to destroying my child’s liver over time or messing with her brain function and use an artificial sweetener. What a choice!
Here’s the quick and dirty science behind HFCS.
HFCS and sucrose (simple table sugar) are both made up of fructose and glucose. Sucrose, is about a 50/50 split of fructose and glucose. HFCS breaks out to be about 55% fructose and about 42% glucose. The difference between sucrose and HFCS takes place in the manufacturing process where the fructose molecule becomes free and unbound and more easily absorbed. The glucose and fructose in simple table sugar are bound together and have to go through an extra metabolic step before they can be utilized.
What does all that mean?
Basically, HFCS is being absorbed much faster into your system than regular sugar.
More fructose is being metabolized to produce fat and when the liver receives more than it can process the extra sugars are being converted to triglycerides (fat). This in turn causes heart disease, clogged arteries, damaging effects to your liver over time, diabetes and obesity.
To sum all this up I urge you to read labels and watch ALL sugar intake but especially high fructose corn syrup.
The food industry is not a friend to our children.
I mean fruit rollups? Gushers? Breakfast cereals with chocolate and colored marshmallows? I find it extremely disturbing and I hope you do as well.
I’m working on a list of healthy snack options for kids (I’ll let you know right when I’m done with it!).
But, I will say that Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods do have excellent choices for kids. I bring my kids with me and let them pick their snacks. That way they feel like it’s their choice and not me making them eat “healthy”. We’ve have the fruit rollup argument several times in my house until we found the fruit sticks at Trader Joe’s and now everyone is content.
So please be aware of what your children are eating. Read those labels and know what you are bringing into your home and putting into your children’s bodies.
As always feel free to ask me any nutritional questions you may have. I’m always happy to offer my suggestions.