By Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
With Easter just ahead of us, it’s time to think about what treats we are giving our kids.
Did you know that high-fructose corn syrup is processed with mercury?! High-fructose corn syrup has no nutritional value; it is very addictive and it is more than twice as sweet as regular sugar. When consumed, whether in the form of candy, baked goods, or soft drinks, it causes a huge spike in blood sugar, and if that sugar is not immediately used up by exercising (computer games and texting don’t count!), it is converted into fat and stored in the body…causing weight gain. It also causes insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes (currently an epidemic in America).
As for the artificial colors, some countries like the UK, actually require that companies label products containing certain dyes with a warning. FD&C Yellow #5 or #6 are typically found in the bright yellow peeps. This causes many allergic reactions and studies have shown it to cause hyperactivity in children. FD&C Red is also a trigger for many people.
Children, and even many adults, are not able to detoxify these chemicals readily. Studies have shown they contribute to hyperactivity. A combination of the high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and artificial flavors have many kids “off the wall.” Other possible reactions include itching, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.
So how can kids have a treat without all of these ingredients?
The first thing to do is to become a label reader. Look for natural colorings that come from pigments of fruits, vegetables, or spices. Also, look for real chocolate without hydrogenated fat and high-fructose corn syrup. Try to get them to eat dark chocolate (which is higher in nutrients) instead of the milk chocolate. Children are attracted to the brightly colored paper, so if they are wrapped in that, they may not realize the difference. They can actually have a treat that is high in antioxidants and they won’t even realize they’re eating something healthy! Natur-Tyme now carries healthier Easter candy options. We also carry organic jelly beans that are made with natural colors and organic cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.
We can still allow our children to have an occasional treat, but if we are conscious of what is in it, we can make better choices for them. As their taste buds adjust, they will learn to make better choices for themselves as they grow up.