March 26, 2012
As significant percentages of parents wisely abandon HFCS and sugar-filled sodas as a viable beverage option for their children, corporations are capitalizing on the health-conscious trend by pushing fruit juices as a healthy alternative. Most parents who buy juices think they are making a wise choice, often because of the outlandish health claims juice makers put on the labels. In reality, however, parents should be not only be paying close attention to the murky ingredient list that lurks behind that bright, colorful, attractive front label, but should also reconsider feeding their children processed fruit juice altogether.
Some ingredients to watch out for
Sodium Benzoate- has been shown to destroy the mitochondrial DNA of yeast cells and, according to Professor Peter Piper of Sheffield University, could do the same to human cells in the long-term. Additionally, two recent British government funded studies have found that sodium benzoate adversely affects child behavior. If that weren’t enough, benzene, a known carcinogen, occurs when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the preservative potassium benzoate.
Natural Flavors- or basically any combination of molecules a chemist can derive from ‘natural’ sources to make their food taste or look a certain way. Often the sources of these flavors have nothing to do with the type of juice advertised on the label.
Carmine(also called Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red #4, C.I. 75470, E120) – or powdered scaleinsectbodies boiled in ammonia and processed as a food additive, is certainly an example of something that comes from a ‘natural’ source that has nothing to do with what is on the label. Crushed beetles anyone?
Food Dyes- such as Red #40, have been linked to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems. Many companies use petroleum-derived food coloring over real juice to save money.
Maltodextrin- is the starch-like substance some manufacturers add to fruit juices so they can make a ‘high-fiber’ claim on the label. Why keep the natural fiber in juice when you can apparently save money by adding a cheap chemically refined sugar, made from GM corn, that has been shown to promote weight gain?
Sugar/Fructose- The adverse health consequences of sugar are well known. What many parents don’t realize, however, is that children can consume as much or more sugar in fruit drinks than in sodas and junk food.
Ingredients that aren’t supposed to be ingredients- such as lead (85 percent of child-marketed beverages contain significant lead levels) and the toxic fungicide carbendazim, recently found in 15 percent of orange juice samples tested by the FDA. Carbendazim is illegal in the US, but not in several countries that export fruit here. Additionally, non-organic fruit is laced with a cornucopia of toxic pesticides and chemicals that is not only bad for bugs, but humans as well.
Parents do their children no favors by substituting one junk beverage for another. Sweet drinks, whether sodas or fruit juices, have been solidly linked to childhood obesity. In 2005,Pediatricsreported that already-heavy preschoolers who consume a sweet beverage just once or twice a day doubled their risk of becoming seriously obese just one year later. The study found no difference between fruit juices and sugar-filled Kool-aid.
The corporations that peddle this propaganda are happy to reformat, repackage, relabel, rename, and remarket their poison, just so long as unsuspecting parents keep buying it and feeding it to their children. Things will not change significantly until the majority of consumers start reading the ingredients list on the back of the label instead of the propaganda on the front.
learn more at Natural News
May 25th, 2011
By: Neev M. Arnell
“Should the FDA be so permissive with chemicals in food, suspect or not, that amount to little more than marketing?” asks The Daily Green. This question is particularly pertinent considering that colorings have not always proven to be harmless.
Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2 and Green 3, –which include some of the most commonly used artificial food colorings–have all been identified as being, or being contaminated with, potential cancer-causing chemicals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are known to trigger reactions in those with allergies.
History paints an ugly food color portrait
Until the twentieth century, food coloring could only be obtained from what people found in nature. Ancient Romans used saffron and other spices to put a rich yellow color into various foods. Other frequently used natural colors included paprika, turmeric, beet extract, and petals of various flowers.
But many of the other frequently used natural colors were not only unappetizing, but downright dangerous. Bakers added chalk to whiten bread, for example, and sweets manufacturers loaded candy with vermilion (which contains mercury), red lead, white lead, verdigris (which is a copper salt), blue vitriol (which contains copper) and Scheele’s green (which contains both copper and arsenic).
The science of food coloring evolved from there and technology created a new kind of dye derived from coal tar, a waste product of coal gas and coke. The synthetic dyes came to be known at coal-tar colors and they are what we still use today.
By the beginning of the 20th century, some 695 of these had been synthesized, and over 80 were on the market. While they were generally a safer alternative to metal salts and used in less quantity, they were still unregulated.
In 1938, responsibility for regulating and enforcing color was granted to the newly instituted Food and Drug Administration. At that point, there were 15 synthetic colors approved for use in foods, 6 of which are still used today.
Modern food colorings have their own problems
While manufacturers were no longer adding mercury or arsenic to their products, food-coloring dangers took center stage, yet again, in the 1950s after many children became ill from eating Halloween candy containing the Orange 1 food coloring. The FDA banned the color after more rigorous testing suggested that it was toxic.
Red 32 and Orange 2 were also delisted due to the same Halloween incident, according to the Harvard Law School paper, The Palette of Our Palates: A brief history of food coloring and its regulation.
The controversy continued when, in 1976, the agency banned Red 2 because it was suspected to be carcinogenic, according to The New York Times.
Other colors have since been banned in the US including: Violet 1; Reds 2 and 4; Yellows 1, 2, 3 and 4, and Yellow 5 is undergoing testing, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
The FDA decided to remove Red 2 from the provisional list in 1976, after Conflicting studies were published. Some studies showed the dye was safe and others showed that it was not safe and, in fact, caused breast and intestinal tumors in rats and was toxic to gonads and embryos. The FDA de-listed it stating that the color industry had not met its burden of proving the safety of Red 2.
Yellow 5 was the successor to Red 2 in popularity. The color, sometimes called Tartrazine, also had its own problems. It was one of the dyes singled out in 1977 by Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen Health Research Group as unsafe. The group pointed to the de-listing of Red 2 and Red 4 a year earlier as evidence that dyes we consider “safe” are often later shown to be toxic.
While the FDA said that Public Citizen was “overstating the issue and causing public alarm that is simply not warranted,” they simultaneously admitted that Yellow 5 caused severe allergic reactions in a small number of people.
Is the FDA doing a better job today?
The FDA suggested that problems associated with artificial coloring might be akin to a peanut allergy or intolerance to these substances and not to any inherent toxic properties of the colorings themselves, said the New York Times.
This may not be accurate, according to a 2004 Southampton University study covered by the BBC. A team of researchers found that adding food colors to children’s diets increased hyperactivity rates in all young children, not just those who were allergic to food colorings or who had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“I want this to address a fundamental issue which is ‘Why do we have to have colored food?’ said Professor John Warner, the study’s author.
“It’s absolutely imperative to have follow up studies because we are not now just talking about a population of children with a particular problem we are saying there’s a potential for this to be an effect on all children,” he said. “And, if that really is the case, then food coloring should be removed.”
Consumers can avoid synthetic food colorings by checking labels in grocery stores or by shopping at chains like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, which refuse to sell foods with artificial coloring.