We all get worried when we begin to think of the role of food in causing diseases to us but are more particularly alarmed when it comes to our young ones. From diary milk to red meats, many foods have in time been discussed as potentially carcinogenic even when some of those foods have been with us for as much as human history can be traced back. It’s clear some are simply scare stories while some are building momentum based on research that they’re harmful product we all should be avoiding.
Processed foods and petroleum based products stand out as main culprits. Petroleum the yellow liquid that is mined from the earth’s crust to produce gasoline and motor oil has in the recent been past had derivatives passed on into food production processes. Many grocery lines today come with these additives some of which are being marketed towards children.
The bright colours that these products come in are especially attractive to kids which makes them all the more potentially dangerous. The additives to kid’s food lines come in the form of bright food colouring, flavouring and preservatives in many processed snacks and foods. Yellow dye #5 and red dye #40 are well-known variations. There is currently no unified guidance from authorities and some of these have come in on country to country basis some countries choosing to completely outlaw products with these ingredients because of their serious health risks
Many people today recognise the effects of the many additives and preservatives in children’s foods as a result of intense research in this area of science. Some effects are listed below;
· Allergic reactions
· Chromosomal damage
· Organ damage
· Birth defects
A discussion of carcinogenic foods has to highlight one major point. The fact that there are many confounding factors that can contribute to a single case of cancer. Most eaters of processed meats for example can also be huge consumers of big quantities of sugar, complex carbs, beer, other processed foods, not getting much exercise, etc. all of which can compound into the single case.
Some food items do however standout as potentially carcinogenic such as food dyes and processed meats. Food dyes as an example can also contain unexpected and unknown impurities. These substances have been in the recent past been ruled toxic by both the UK government and European Union that have since sought to end their use in food throughout Europe since 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have been reported to account roughly for 90% of the dyes used in foods in some countries.
Their use is so widespread some fresh oranges are reported to be dipped in dye to brighten them up and provide uniform colour, says Michael Jacobson, executive director at CSPI
Research on mice showed Red 40 to cause immune-system tumours in mice and has caused many allergic and hyperactive reactions in children.
It’s also reported that Yellow 5 has the same effects but contains multiple carcinogenic substances and has been linked to organ damage. On the other hand, Yellow 6 is reported to cause adrenal tumours in animals as well as hypersensitivity in children.
The role of red meats and processed meats in causing bowel cancer in now well researched and understood. Research is now unanimous in the view that processed meat is a ‘definite’ cause of cancer while red meat is a ‘probable’ cause. Bowel cancer is evidenced to be common among people who eat the most red and processed meat.
Here’s a list of popular children’s foods you’ll want to avoid:
1. Sausage and Ham based foods
Well, not much to be said about this apart from pointing out the fact that The IARC in 2015 concluded after decades of research that it now considered that processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, bacon, ham and other processed meats to its list of highest risk carcinogens. The expert panel also declared red meat a probable carcinogen in that same report.
2. Pop Tarts
Some flavours of this much cherished children’s snack have been reported to contain many harmful ingredients.
Firstly, the snacks have corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and sugar within the first 7 ingredients. These sugary products has all been linked to childhood diabetes, sugar addiction and liver problems. The treats also contain TBHQ, a petroleum based-product which damages human DNA and causes cellular dysfunction. It’s also known to cause tumours, vision loss, liver enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, and paralysis in laboratory animals.
3. Fruit Snacks
Many fruit-based snacks that market themselves as healthy options, like jam-filled cereal bars for example, are loaded with food colouring to make them more appealing .Red 3 is commonly used, which is worrisome since it’s been banned from cosmetic products for causing thyroid tumours.
Children of all ages have to avoid BBQ parties especially those that when grilling meats over charcoal or wood. This is because when saturated fat hits charcoal, it produces a class of chemicals named benzopyrenes, which are known carcinogens. Actual barbecuing, which occurs without direct flame and at low temperatures over long times (at about 200° F) is said not to produce much of these compounds.
5. M & MS
We see these on many kids party treats these days such as cakes and sweet pizzas. M&Ms have however been found to contain red 40, yellow 6 and yellow 5. These chocolates are also often coloured by using blue 2, which is known to cause tumours in the brain and bladder, as well as blue 1, which inhibits the development of nerve cells.
6. Pickled Vegetables
In the recent past, pickled vegetables have been identified by the world health organisation (WHO) as potentially carcinogenic. WHO cited research from Asian countries connecting eating pickled vegetables and rates of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (which is a cancer attacking the cells of the oesophagus) in regions where people eat higher amounts of fermented vegetables, as fresh ones are not available.
7. Teddy Grams
These seemingly harmless snacks are often laced with TBHQ, which is bad for the same reasons mentioned previously, as well as nausea, vomiting, delirium, anxiety and stomach cancer.
These foods can thankfully have many other substitutes in many event party catering situations to help your child and your guests’ kids enjoy a fabulous party event without necessarily putting themselves in harm’s way. As a guide, always ensure you include as much organic items on any event buffet menu as possible or insist on the same when hiring services from a buffet catering companies. As a suggestion, snacks with an all-natural and organic products range (that are either store-bought or homemade) as well as fresh fruits and vegetables in appropriately-sized portions and white meats should be a great main stay on your buffets going forwards. These options are much more filling and nutritious than the ones on this list.
There has been no intention in this write up to cause any alarm. Should you be concerned about your child’s exposure to dyes, red meats or processed foods and want to find out more start by making sure to read the labels on food products or seek help of a professional practitioner.