You’re busy, and there is an abundance of different snacks and food products on the market; as a result, it can be easy to ignore important information while shopping for your child.
It is important to take a few seconds reading labels off the box before making the right choice.
Below is a crash course on food label reading.

The Not-SoFantastic Four:

1)     High-Fructose Corn Syrup:

This is in most carbonate drinks, juice, iced tea, and condiments (ketchup).
Because it is cheaper than real sugar, food companies prefer to use it to drive up profit.
It is high in calories and has been linked to obesity.
It raises blood sugar, and overall cholesterol. Long term usage leads
to obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

2)     Sugar substitutes:

  1. Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet): it is the most commonly
    found artificial sweetener on the market. It raises blood level of aspartate
    and glutamate which is toxic to neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are
    important to our brain development and function in developing child.  Adverse reactions reported by the FDA
    include: migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
    Long term exposure can lead to memory loss (Alzheimer’s, dementia), multiple
    sclerosis, and hormonal issues. Check if you or your child chews gum all the
  2. Sucralose (Splenda): This is a synthetic sugar substitute
    made out of chlorine molecules. Chlorine is used in pesticides, and daily
    cleaning agents. Sucralose and its chlorine derivative will ultimately reduce
    intestinal bacterial flora, and reduce stomach acid. It is also linked to
    anemia, and male infertility. If you don’t like to drink your toilet bowl
    cleaner, why would you eat Splenda?
  3. Saccharin (Sweet’N Low): Many animal tests have
    found carcinogenic activity with saccharin, but it is still uncertain whether this
    translates into human. FDA has reported possible side effects of saccharin
    including: allergic reactions (rashes), diarrhea, and headache.

3)     Artificial Flavors and Artificial colors:

These are well known food additives used worldwide for the longest time. In my
practice, its side effect presents as behavioral problems in children.
Synthetic dyes and chemicals increase the risk of ADD, ADHD and allergic
reactions, not to mention it is also carcinogenic in several animal studies.
You can find these in cereals, fruit juices, and candies.

4)     Monosodium Glutamate (MSG):

MSG can be found in many items such as canned soup, instant noodles, crackers,
infant formula and deli/smoked meats.  MSG is used in cooking as well.
It is used in your take-out Chinese food, school cafeteria, and some salad
dressings. MSG is a form of cheap salt, equivalent to what the High-Fructose corn syrup is to sugar.
As the name indicated, it contains high sodium and high glutamic acid.
As I mentioned above, glutamic acid can cause neurotransmitter
damage leading to brain dysfunction. MSG increase our taste buds by increase
neuronal excitement, making food taste good and triggers overeating.
MSG is a contributing factor in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
MSG has many alternative names which makes it harder to recognize.
Here are a few names of MSG used in food labels: Yeast Extract, Autolyzed Yeast,
Calcium Caseinate, Gelatin, Glutamate, Glutamic acid, Hydrolyzed Protein, Sodium Caseinate,
Rice Syrup
and Brown Rice Syrup.
Do you feel thirsty when you eat out or have take out Chinese food?

Have fun and enjoy shopping at your local supermarket. Remember to stop and scan those food labels quickly.