Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hidden Dangers In The Freezer Aisle

It's the season for grabbing frozen treats to cool down on a hot day, but before you buy a box of traditional freezer pops from the grocery store, take a good look at the ingredient list. It probably reads more like a science experiment than a refreshing, icy treat that should be given to children.

Here's how it all breaks down and how truly unhealthy these store bought "frozen treats" really can be.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
This is a highly-refined, industrial food product. It is not the same as naturally occurring fructose in fruit, which is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber. High Fructose Corn Syrup has become a leading source of calories in the United States and is found in nearly all processed foods. It may contribute to the development of diabetes, obesity, cancer and more. Additionally, HFCS is mostly made from GMO corn and Mercury has even been found in certain brands of HFCS. No thank you. There would be no need for High Fructose Corn Syrup in these freezer pops if they actually used any real fruit.

Citric Acid 
A natural acid that is found in many fruits. The acidic pH of citric acid makes it useful as a preservative. Since many bacteria are unable to grow in an acidic environment, citric acid is often added to processed foods as a preservative.

Artificial flavors 
These flavors are chemical mixtures that try to mimic a natural flavor. To approximate the actual flavor of a food, scientists may blend dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of different chemicals in a lab. It is scary to think that we don’t fully know what we are eating. Artificial flavors may cause cancer. This labeling should be far more extensive, rather than the vague term "artificial flavors."

Sodium Benzoate 
This food preservative helps inhibit the growth of mold in processed food and may increase hyperactivity in children.

Potassium Sorbate 
This is a preservative used in processed foods to help prevent mold, fungi and yeast growth. Potassium sorbate is currently considered non-toxic and safe for use in food. However, many people, including myself, believe that the addition of synthetic ingredients to food, especially food consumed regularly by children, can cause long term side effects which can be harmful.

Food Dyes Red 40 and Blue 1
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), artificial food dyes can be very dangerous to one's health. They pose risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children and allergic reactions. CSPI wants food dyes to be banned because they are a threat to public health. According to the CSPI, in a handful of studies, Red 40 damaged the DNA of mice. The European union requires a warning label on products containing Red 40, yet no warning label is required here. Shameful.

Blue 1 is banned in many countries. This artificial food dye is linked to ADHD, allergies and asthma. It crosses the blood brain barrier and can actually enter the bloodstream via the skin or through the digestive tract. When your child is licking a lollipop and his tongue turns blue, he may think it's funny, but his body is actually absorbing this harmful chemical through his tongue and into the bloodstream. Avoid any food product that contains artificial food dyes as much as possible.

We all want the best for our kids and I think the main reason why so many people buy these chemical filled foods is because there are no warning labels - so they are considered safe. Many people don't realize just how dangerous these food additives and artificial ingredients can be.

The good news is that it's an easy switch. Making homemade frozen treats is extremely easy, quick and affordable. Just blend your chosen fruits and freeze in your Sage Spoonfuls jars with a popsicle stick. They're healthy and taste great! Plus, you get the same vibrant colors without any of that nasty artificial stuff.

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