Archive for March, 2014

Food additives and ADD in kids

As the parent of two young kids I am always aware of the drugs being pushed on parents to treat ADD and the fact that in the past no kids were using Adderall or Ritalin or even Prozac. 

Some people think that may of the problems assicated with ADD and ADHD are caused by food additives that have been added over the last 20 years in the foods that kids eat. Well there was just a new research paper released in Britain that is having people take notice.

“Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an increasingly common problem, and theories abound to account for that,” said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. “Among them is the notion that food additives induce hyperactivity.”

Despite this apparent connection, Katz cautioned that the increasing number of children with ADHD cannot be blamed on food additives alone.

“No one factor is solely responsible for rising rates of ADHD,” Katz said. “Along with the hazards of a highly processed food supply, children are getting less and less physical activity as a means of dissipating their native rambunctiousness.”

In the study, Jim Stevenson, a professor of psychology at the University of Southampton, and his colleagues gave drinks containing additives to 297 children. The children were in two groups: 3-year-olds and 8- and 9-year-olds. The drinks contained artificial food coloring and additives such as sodium benzoate, a preservative.

Food additives and ADD in kids

Adderall Pill

These concoctions were similar to the drinks that are commercially available. The amount of additives were also similar to what is found in one or two servings of candy a day, according to the report. As a control, some children were given drinks without additives, according to the report in the Sept. 6 issue of The Lancet. Over the six weeks of the trial, Stevenson’s team found that children in both age groups who drank the drinks containing additives displayed significantly more hyperactive behavior. These children also had shorter attention spans. However, which specific additives caused specific behavioral problems is not known, the researchers said.

One of the additives, sodium benzoate, has been linked to cell damage in a previous study, and to an increased for cancer. Sodium benzoate is found in Coca-Cola, Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi, and in many fruit drinks.

Other additives assessed in the study include a number of colorings — sunset yellow (E110), found in fruity drinks; carmoisine (E122), a red coloring often added to jams; ponceau 4R (E124), a red food coloring; tartrazine (E102), found in lollipops and carbonated drinks; quinoline yellow (E104), a food coloring; and allura red AC (E129), and orange-red food dye.

“Although the use of artificial coloring in food manufacture might seem to be superfluous, the same cannot be said for sodium benzoate, which has an important preservative function. The implications of these results for the regulation of food additive use could be substantial,” the researchers conclude.

Based on these findings, the British government’s Food Standards Agency cautioned parents to be on the lookout for hyperactive behavior linked to food additives.

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Calcium Needs and Requirements

Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids). Calcium has many important jobs. The body stores more than 99 percent of its calcium in the bones and teeth to help make and keep them strong. The rest is throughout the body in blood, muscle and the fluid between cells. Your body needs calcium to help muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, to secrete hormones and enzymes and to send messages through the nervous system.

Why do you need Calcium?

Calcium is required for muscle contraction, blood vessel expansion and contraction, secretion of hormones and enzymes, and transmitting impulses throughout the nervous system. The body strives to maintain constant concentrations of calcium in blood, muscle, and intercellular fluids, though less than 1% of total body calcium is needed to support these functions.

Calcium Needs and Requirements

The remaining 99% of the body’s supply is stored in the bones and teeth where it supports their structure. Bone itself undergoes continuous remodeling, with constant resorption and deposition of calcium into new bone. The balance between bone resorption and deposition changes with age.

Bone formation exceeds resorption in growing children, whereas in early and middle adulthood both processes are relatively equal. In aging adults, particularly among postmenopausal women, bone breakdown exceeds formation, resulting in bone loss that increases the risk of osteoporosis over time.

It is important to get plenty of calcium in the foods you eat. Foods rich in this mineral include diary products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, and leafy, green vegetables. The exact amount of calcium you need depends on your age and other factors. Growing children and teenagers need more calcium than young adults. Older women need plenty of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. People who do not eat enough high-calcium foods should take a calcium supplement.

Calcium Intake Needs

Intake recommendations for calcium is 210 and 1200 milligrams a day a day depending on age and sex with pregnant and older women needing the most.

Calcium Needs and Requirements

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Facts on Fiber

Fiber is one of those things that we are told to eat mroe of yet there should be some confusion. Not all fiber is alike.

Most Americans know that foods high in fiber are full of nutrients because they are less processed. There are two kinds of dietary fiber and you need both.

Two Types of Fiber

Facts on FiberInsoluble fiber (the type that does not dissolve in water and is found in wheat bran, oats, whole grains and vegetables) helps promote regularity, prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. It may also help prevent colon cancer.

Soluble fiber (the type that dissolves in water, found in oat bran, oats, beans, apples and carrots) helps lower blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

According to the American Dietetic Association’s(ADA) Dietary Guidance for Health Children aged 2 to 11, the perfect fiber intake has not been defined. Several organizations have suggested that children over 2 consume a daily intake equal or greater than their age plus 5 grams per day. So if you have an eight year old, he or she might consume 13 grams of dietary fiber per day. Ultimately, they should build up to consuming 25 to 35 grams per day after the age of 20 years. But that may seem a long way off for your child.

How can you Incorporate Fiber into your Daily Diet?

First, start consuming high fiber foods in small amounts. Let your body adjust by increasing the fiber you eat in small increments. If you increase your fiber intake dramatically, gas, diarrhea, and bloating may result. However, increasing your fiber intake gradually should minimize these effects. Substitute whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables for some of the processed foods you eat. Think about replacing high fat or highly processed foods with high fiber foods.

Second, drink plenty of fluids to help the fiber do its work.

Third, choose foods, not fiber supplements, to gradually increase your intake of fiber. Fiber containing foods offer other nutrients like vitamins, minerals and protein while supplements may not. Here are some healthful combinations that can be incorporated into your daily menu:

Visit the Family Health site site to see a table with the amount of fiber in common foods.

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