Better School Food’s: List of Unhealthy and other Food Additives to Avoid when Raising Healthy Children - Caffeine

Author // Pathways Magazine

Labels: NutritionIssue #23
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Better School Food’s: List of Unhealthy and other Food Additives to Avoid when Raising Healthy Children
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6. Caffeine

Caffeine is a mildly addictive stimulant • Increases heartbeat, respiration, basal metabolic rate, gastroenteric reflexes and production of stomach acid and urine • Affects the kidneys, increasing urination, which can lead to dehydration • Metabolized by the liver • Can lead to osteoporosis, infertility, heart disease, jitteriness, headaches, irritability, sleeplessness, possible birth defects and depression

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7. Artificial Sweeteners

Acesulfame-K: commonly used in sugar-free baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks. • May be a carcinogen • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet): can cause sensitivities resulting in headaches, dizziness, and hallucinations • Saccharin: has resulted in cancer of the uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels and other organs in lab rats; may cause bladder cancer • Sucralose (Splenda): artificial sweetener used mainly in diet foods; made by chemically reacting sugar with chlorine • Sorbitol: a sweetener used as a thickening agent; maintains moisture in dietetic drinks, foods, candy, shredded coconut and chewing gum; commonly has a laxative effect

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8. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG is an amino acid flavor enhancer • Flavor enhancers are believed to stimulate the appetite, contributing to obesity • Used mainly in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soup and chips • Sensitivities to MSG include headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensation and difficulty breathing • Flavor enhancers destroyed nerve cells in infant mice

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9. Olestra

Olestra is an indigestible fat substitute used mainly in foods that are fried and baked • It is a non-absorbable lipid-like substance that inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients • Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence • Olestra can collect and assimilate fat-soluble vitamins present in other foods, reducing their ability to be absorbed. Long-term use of Olestra can reduce fat-soluble vitamin (including E, A, D and K) absorption.

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10. Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate

Preservatives used in preserving, coloring and flavoring cured meats and fish • They prevent botulism and are a color fixative • Nitrites/nitrates can combine with chemicals in the stomach to form nitrosamine, a highly carcinogenic substance

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About Better School Food

Better School Food is an organization of concerned parents, educators, and health professionals devoted to improving the diet of our nation’s youth in the place where they come together and do much of their eating: at school.

The group works with communities to provide better meals and increase awareness of the connection between good nutrition, good health and the ability to learn and retain information. Seen this way, lunch isn’t something kids do between classes—instead, a healthy lunch is an essential part of the education process.

Better School Food was founded by Dr. Susan Rubin as a way to provide resources and guidance to parents and educators who wanted to improve the health and nutrition of the children in their care. Some of the resources included on the organization’s website (betterschool are tips and instructions about starting a school garden and farm-toschool programs. Both approaches bring fresh, whole foods into the educational ecosystem. School gardens, in particular, give students hands-on experience with planting and growing their own food— experience which enriches every meal.

Among the changes the organization would like to make in school food are the following: eliminating the use of partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup; providing a vegetarian option every day and serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans; shrinking portion sizes to reasonable levels; and allowing more time for students to eat lunch. These changes would result in healthier, happier students, with body chemistries more conducive to learning.

Pathways Issue 23 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #23.

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