Candy Coated Chemical Additives
February 9, 2015
I remember when my son was three years old and I watched him gravitate towards a huge table full of candy. My initial reaction was “no way” – I wanted to point him in the other direction. Unfortunately, as all mothers understand, three year olds can be rather persistent. It didn‘t help that my father, his junk-food-loving grandpa, begged me to “let him live a little because he‘s a kid.” So I succumbed to the pressure and let him indulge in bright green and yellow gummy bears and chewy twists, red heart-shaped candy, and one very long colorful candy kebab.
It was right then and there that I realized it wasn’t so much the junk that set off my maternal panic alarms, but rather the type of junk my son was eating. The candy he was eating was filled with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce!
I am thankful for that experience. It prompted me to search out healthier junk food options. I knew deprivation was not the answer, so my goal was to find great tasting “junk food” which would satisfy my kids’ junk food cravings and allow them to enjoy what they were eating—but without all the chemical additives.
How to Unjunk Your Junk Food
It was my search for healthier junk food options that led me to co-author our book, Unjunk Your Junk Food – Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks. My co-authors and I spent two years analyzing hundreds of brands of junk food, and we discovered that many of them contained dangerous chemical additives that are causing harm to our bodies by wreaking havoc on our immune systems. We identified these dangerous additives as The Scary Seven. They are:
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils (trans fats)
- Artificial Colors
- Artificial Sweeteners (including acesulfame potassium, or Ace-K; sucralose [Splenda], and aspartame)
- Artificial Flavors
- Preservatives (including: sodium benzoate, sulfites (sulfur dioxide), polysorbate 60, 65 or 80, nitrites, TBHQ, and BHT/BHA).
Avoiding these seven categories of ingredients is a huge step in the right direction to making better, more informed choices when shopping for food.