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Food Dyes and Additives: Top Five Ways they Affect Our Children

You want the best for your child....

From the moment you brought your child home, you wanted to make the best life for them. You breastfed or chose the best formula, you introduced new foods slowly… But have you thought about what else might be lurking in your child’s lunch? Especially as children grow older and start choosing their own foods, they may not always make the healthiest choices. This can lead to them consuming more food dyes and additives than you would like. You’ve heard that these are bad, but what do they really do? Let Acumen Nutrition, your nutritional counselor in Denver, explain the top five ways that food dyes and additives can affect your children.

How food dyes and additives affect your health:

  1. Hormonal changes. When you think of hormones, you might think of a menopausal woman having “hot flashes”— but you might want to think about kids. Common preservatives and packaging contaminants have been linked to hormonal changes that cause early (or delayed) puberty, altered behavior, and may even play a role in developing cancer.
  2. Obesity. Humans evolved to be active, lean, and always on the hunt for difficult-to-find food. Today’s humans no longer hunt and have grocery stores full of food—with other undesirable ingredients hiding inside! Added sugars and bad fats can turn even the most innocent-sounding meal into a diet disaster, and kids are not immune. Juice, snacks, and even “healthy” sounding options like yogurt can be filled with sugar and oils that were never meant to be there in the first place.
  3. Behavioral problems. While the research is mixed on this topic, the trend is clear: unhealthy diets full of artificial coloring, flavoring, and additives are associated with an increase in behavior problems such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other symptoms. Some additives are more dangerous than others, and have been banned by European countries.
  4. Heart disease. Heart problems are no longer just for adults! One of the biggest culprits behind cardiovascular disease is trans fats. Trans fats are used to help your food last longer on shelves, so food companies can make more money. The problem? Trans fats increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, while decreasing HDL (good) cholesterol… the exact opposite of what health and nature demand!
  5. Cancer. While the research is unclear, there are many food additives and colorings that have shown increased rates of cancer in laboratory animals. Sure, your child isn’t a rat drinking dyed water every day, but even a tiny increase in the risk for cancer could be deadly—especially if the child is from a family that is genetically predisposed to this illness.

These are some scary effects! Fortunately, avoiding these food dyes and additives isn’t nearly as scary. Choose healthy, whole foods, and consult with Acumen Nutrition, a nutritionist in Colorado, to find out more about improving your health every day.


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