Neurotoxins- The Silent Killer in the School Lunch Box!
Life has become incredibly busy after the arrival of my second child. I can't believe I've been writing this post for more than a month and here I am, with another rant on the way the food habits are being forced upon us, and most importantly, our kids.
When I practice certain habits which are considered far too much or outdated by people around me, I usually don't bother much. One of the harshest comments I've received so far was when a good friend called me a miser for not spending on the chocolate and chips as she would allocate a certain amount from her monthly budget for the same. Many times I used to feel it is almost impossible to break such beliefs so I would just remain silent and carry on with my life. However, it was only after my son joined school I realized that what seems to acceptable to many would have an impact on us as well, even if we don't practice them.The food industry is not just manipulating the health of one or two kids from the family and friends whom I have seen, but this, entire, generation who are raised with such unhealthy habits.
When my son started to learn his ABCs and numbers, I also taught him about good food and bad food. He was quick in grasping that and I was one of those elated parents to see their children being smart in choosing what is best for them.
Little did I know that he will be too quick to unlearn that as soon as he joined school. He started getting the feeling of deprivation and he would point out to things like Barnies, Oreos, Sunbites, readymade custards and puddings, nuggets and the like at the supermarket. Somehow I fell into the trap of feeling guilty for depriving my son and I the frequency of me allowing such junk increased. My son would always ask for something called "Sunbites", a humble looking bread bites with a beautiful picture of a lush green farm on the package. I have to admit that I have given in to his demands quite a few times, and I somehow willfully didn't read the ingredients list until one day when I looked behind and saw it was a product of PEPSICO. The very name sent alarms to my brain for the reason that it is one of the companies that is spending millions of dollars to stop the GMO labeling law. I immediately started scrutinizing the ingredients list, and to my dismay, I found that the bread bites was a nasty blend of dangerous chemicals and preservatives! Those ingredients are not just some random chemicals, but neurotoxins that react with the brain cells and have serious health implications!
Here are some of the most toxic chemicals that are found in this little snack:
E621- Monosodium Glutamate
E631- Disodium inosinate
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Anti caking agents (E 551, E341)
Nature identical flavours
These additives are manufactured with heavy chemical processing and disodium inosinate or E631 is often derived from meat sources. MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is not directly mentioned in the list, however, it is hidden in the name of E621, which many of us might just ignore thinking it could be just another harmless food additive. MSG or E621, along with the whole list of other additives like E627, E631, hydrolyzed soy protein and maltodextrin are all excitotoxins or neurotoxins. By definition, excitotoxins are a class of chemicals that overstimulate neuron receptors. Neuron receptors allow brain cells to communicate with each other, but when they are exposed to excitotoxins, they fire impulses at such a rapid rate that they become exhausted. To put it simply, it is this "salt" which sends signals to the brain that it makes us want to eat the food again and again, making our tastebuds artificially like the taste.
There are many other health risks associated with the consumption of MSG, that include headache, depression and obesity. MSG is dubbed as a silent killer and to know more about its dangers, have a look at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/msg-is-this-silent-killer_b_491502.html
The above list of ingredients is not just found in Sunbites. You will find them in a lot of food products that you pick up from the supermarket and my concern is that they are given to small children without being aware of the dangerous health consequences. Here is the snapshot of "food" like things that are commonly given to children which has very dangerous levels of chemicals and additives in them. Do the bit of research and at least try to avoid food that has this neurotoxins and carcinogens in it. Remember the names of these ingredients and avoid them like plague!
a) Monosodium Glutamate or MSG- a known neurotoxin, excitotoxin hidden in the names of flavour enhancers of E621, vanillin, maltodextrin, anything "hydrolyzed" like hydrolyzed soy protein, pectin,. For the full list, go to this site
b) High Fructose Corn Syrup: A very common cheap, man made sweetener found in a wide range of food like items starting from carbonated drinks to ketchup and cookies. Anything man made and industrially processed is dangerous, and HFCS is no exception to it. Regular consumption of HFCS results in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity and even worse, it has dangerous levels of mercury poisons in it. To read more, go here and here.
c) Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil/ Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Trans Fat): Most of the industrially processed food like products use palm oil, for which the rain forests of South East Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are cleared and palm trees are planted. The simple ingredient which we always overlook not only leaves a bad impact on our health, but also on our planet. That being said, hydrogenation of vegetable oils is a process that makes it reduce the rancidity of foodstuff when added to it which increases shelf life and also gives an artificial taste. This is a "possible" carcinogen and are outright toxic! Read more here.
I've just tried to put together a list of common snack items that are put in the snack boxes of our school kids.
2. Chips- Not just MSG! These little packs of crisps that are regularly given to children are a cocktail of chemicals and dangerous additives.