It pays to read the ingredients list for the products your family consumes, especially your children’s foods and supplements. Chemical preservatives can sneak their way into a range of products, including those used by health-conscious families. Harmful chemicals can have a much greater effect on infants and growing kids. The common preservative sodium benzoate, for example, could cause children to become hyperactive.
In addition to preservatives, you could find other toxins in products that most families might assume to be safe based on the label’s prominent display of the words “Baby,” Kids” or “Children.” Unhealthy substances, however, also appear in baby vitamins and supplements. You might wonder “Are vitamins organic?” It could be easy to assume they are but check the labels. You will find that not all supplements are certifiably organic, and some also contain harmful ingredients.
A group of man-made fats manufactured by a chemical process called hydrogenation, these oils have been around since the early Twentieth Century. The assumption was that hydrogenated oils served as a better alternative to using animal fats such as lard for cooking. Food manufacturers soon discovered that hydrogenated oils gave their products a more appealing consistency and helped them stay fresh longer. You can find these man-made fats in a wide range of cookies, crackers, candies and other snacks. You could also find hydrogenated oils in probiotics, vitamin gummies and other supplements made for infants.
In addition to their link to heart disease, hydrogenated oils may oxidize during the manufacturing process. The high production temperatures can release harmful free radicals. The damage that free radicals cause could lead to chronic illnesses. Although babies benefit from probiotic supplements because they promote healthy digestive functioning, you may wish to avoid those containing hydrogenated oils. When selecting a dairy free infant probiotic, consider checking carefully to see what’s in it.
In addition to lacking any nutritional value, artificial flavors are lab-produced chemicals and may cause side effects that include nausea, headaches and dizziness. Hyperactivity is one such side effect that mainly presents itself in children. Long-term effects may include issues such as kidney damage, seizures or central nervous system disorders. You could find artificial flavors listed as an ingredient in juices, candies, cereals and a host of other consumable products including supplements.
Although there are more than 1,000 artificial flavorings, manufacturers that use them in their products do not need to specify what they are. The FDA only requires food and supplement companies to note that their products contain “artificial flavors.” You may feel more comfortable about the vitamin gummies or drops you give your baby when you do not find “artificial flavorings” on the ingredients list. You may also wish to look for another batch of unspecified chemicals, “artificial colorings,” while you’re checking.
If you’re an expectant mom, you have expanded nutritional responsibilities. You may be considering a vegan diet to help ensure your baby has the best possible pre-natal environment. You’ve probably also checked in with a vegan pregnancy nutritionist. In addition to following your nutritionist’s vegan food recommendations, check to see if your personal supplements are free of any harmful ingredients that you might pass on to your upcoming newborn.