Learning About Food Additives

Learning About Food Additives

Have you ever felt concerned about the ingredients on food labels that you can’t pronounce? Or worried about the safety of feeding some of those additives to your children? Many of us worry over these food issues. In this article, we will address food additives and how they are regulated, along with a registered dietician’s perspective, to help you make your best choices at the grocery store and in your kitchen.  – For more tips from our panel of experts, check out our blog – Food Additives What are they? Substances added to food, including: food colors, sweeteners, agricultural chemicals, and even some nutrients that may have beneficial effects. Why are they added? To prolong shelf and storage life, as well as to enhance color, flavor, and texture. Why do we worry? Stories on the news about the ingredients in our foods: food colors cause hyperactivity, artificial sweeteners cause cancer, high fructose corn syrup causes obesity and diabetes, etc. It is important to be aware and know the source and the scientific research that makes or refutes the claims – not everything that is published is true. What is being done? Food additives are governed by laws enforced by the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA. Each food additive must be cleared by the FDA after vigorous testing before it is allowed into the food supply. Compounds that end up in our food supply unintentionally through food processing or packaging (growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or bisphenol A (BPA)) must also gain approval from the FDA. A dietician’s perspective: The FDA is continually working to make sure the foods sold and consumed in the US are safe...
Formula and breastfeeding – the facts!

Formula and breastfeeding – the facts!

Choosing formula and breastfeeding – it’s a big decision for parents. While there are many factors to take into consideration, in the end there is really only one thing that matters: Which choice is right for you and your child?  As a registered dietitian and nutritionist in a pediatric practice, I discuss breastfeeding and formula with new parents every day. Below is a breakdown of the benefits and challenges of breastfeeding and formula feeding – here are the facts!   Breastfeeding: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as the best source of nutrition for infants.  Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by the introduction of complementary foods, with continuation of breastfeeding till 1 year or older is recommended by the AAP.  You can access their Policy Statement about breastfeeding here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full#content-block). The benefits with breastfeeding include:  Provides natural antibodies to help baby resist illnesses Easily digested, and babies often experience less constipation and gassiness May lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome during the first year Some studies have shown higher levels of cognitive function in breastfed babies Evidence shows that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions including: childhood overweight/obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac’s disease, asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer Women who breastfeed lose pregnancy weight faster than women who do not It is a bonding opportunity for mother and child It is a low cost option (of course there is your time and supportive tools, equipment ad/or advice) Challenges with...
Food Allergies in Children

Food Allergies in Children

Food allergies in children get a lot of attention from parents, especially since approximately 1 in 20 children under the age of 5 are allergic to at least one food. ​It is a common issue, and can be very concerning. ​Allergic reactions to foods can be serious, so it is​ important to educate yourself with the facts​!​ ​I have worked extensively with parents and children, talking with them about nutrition in general and helping to understand food allergies. From my experience, here are the top 5 things to know about food allergies in children: 1. Six foods are the most common​.​ In infants and children, the most common foods the cause allergic reactions are: eggs, milk, peanut, treat nuts, soy, and wheat (​these cover ​6 of the 8 major food allergens​ ​- the other two are fish and shellfish). Some children outgrow their egg, milk and soy allergies, but generally do not outgrow their allergy to peanut. 2. Symptoms are varied​.​ A food allergy occurs when a food triggers an abnormal response by the body’s immune system​, and ​this can occur in minutes or hours after ingesting the food. Symptoms include: itching of the mouth, swelling of the lips/tongue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps/pain, hives, rash, tightening of the throat or trouble breathing. Anaphylaxis is a severe form of allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention because it can be life-threatening. 3. Diagnosis can be confirmed​. Monitoring your child’s food intake and potential symptoms using a food diary can provide clues about a possible food allergy. If you suspect your child may have an allergy, you should consult with your pediatrician immediately....
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