What’s Hiding in Your Baby’s Food?

Photo by hui sang on Unsplash

There’s no denying that everyone wants what’s best for their kid. You spend so much time making sure your kid is comfortable, well fed, and happy. After all, it is their childhood that shapes the type of adult they will become and their outlook on the world. It is also the stage when a person’s brain is rapidly growing and developing, making proper nutrition extremely important.

While there are tons of guidelines on what adults should be eating, however misguided and out of place they may be, it is hard to find proper guidelines on children’s diets. We all seem to put our trust in the baby formula and food companies that have been around for decades. But what if the same large food corporations that fund and manipulate studies on adult nutrition are also doing this with children’s nutrition?

According to Android Market Research, the baby food and formula industry is projected to be worth $120.59 billion by 2025. While I’d love to believe the big players in the industry have our children’s best interest, unfortunately, this is not the case.

Heavy Metals and Toxins

A recent consumer report found astounding levels of mercury, lead, and toxins in some of the most popular fruit juice brands. The report claimed that the results were 91 times the arsenic levels, 69 times the cadmium levels, and 177 times the lead levels allowed by the FDA in a bottle of water. If it’s too dangerous for us to drink, should our children really be drinking it? Even the organic juices were found to contain just as many heavy metals.

While the companies responsible claim they are committed to health and safety, little changes have been made since previous studies were conducted years ago. The FDA even proposed limiting arsenic in apple juice back in 2013 but this was never enforced.

Dangers

You might be wondering, why are heavy metals so bad? Although the companies responsible for contaminating our food supply claim they are natural and have not been found to have negative health effects, this is far from true. Remember when children’s toys were painted using lead paint? That quickly ended when we realized how dangerous it was for lead to be ingested (“Fact Sheet Lead in Toys”). What makes lead in our food all of a sudden ok?

According to one study, “Exposure to elevated levels of metallic, organic and inorganic mercury can damage the brain, kidneys and the developing fetus”.

Cadmium is classified as a a Group 1 carcinogenic for humans, highly toxic to the kidneys, and causes bone demineralization, leading to osteoporosis.

One study found that the nervous system in its developmental stages is particularly inhibited by heavy metals. Metals like lead and cadmium have been referred to as “well-documented” neurotoxins in several studies. These studies have consistently shown that these metals are related to cognitive decline and loss of cognitive function in adults (“Heavy Metals and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias”).

Most of the studies done on the harmful effects of heavy metals have been done on adults. You can only imagine how much more these would effect young children whose brains are still developing and bones still growing.

What You Can Do

For some reason we think juice is good for children. Really, there are nothing but negatives to drinking juice. It’s a whole bunch of sugar without any fiber to balance it out. Instead, have your children eat whole, organic fruits and drink water.

However, if you are going to feed your kids juice, don’t do it every day and avoid the products below.

  • Trader Joe’s Fresh Pressed Apple Juice
  • Welch’s juices
  • Minute Maid juices
  • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Food’s) 100% Concord Grape Juice
  • Juicy Juice 100% Juice
  • Mott’s 100% Apple White Grape Juice

These were listed as the worst offenders in terms of heavy metal levels in the consumer report.

In addition to juices, you should try to avoid feeding your kids rice and oat products. Rice is known for having high levels of arsenic and oats are one of the crops highest in glyphosate levels. Despite these products being marketed as healthy, they are actually very harmful for children due to the toxins that contaminate them.

Feeding kids can be hard enough, let alone having to worry about the toxins that contaminate their food. We are all just doing the best we can! Education and awareness are the first and most important steps. Use this information to make informed decisions about what you choose to feed your children.

The more we stand up to these large food companies and demand higher standards, the better life will be for us and our children.

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