The most common label I started hearing after having kids is ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Growing up I knew some of my friends get overexcited and can barely make it through class without getting out of their seat; but now I always find teachers complaining that the class was “out of control”.
I also heard a lot about “sugar high’s” in kids, but what I never got was an explanation. Why does every child today have a place in the hyperactivity spectrum?
Sugar, fruit juices, candy, potato chips, etc. all have one group of chemicals in common, excitotoxins, for me the name is self explanatory. For every mother out there struggling with a hyper child, these are your worst enemy. In order for you to enjoy that bold flavorful bag of chips, you need flavor enhancers, most of you know one called MSG (if you don’t, you need to research it). What do these enhancers do to your brain?
“Excitotoxins are a class of chemicals (usually amino acids) that overstimulate neuron receptors. Neuron receptors allow brain cells to communicate with each other, but when they’re exposed to excitotoxins, they fire impulses at such a rapid rate that they become exhausted. Several hours later, these depleted neurons die. Scientists have noted this effect particularly in the hypothalamus and temporal lobes – the parts of the brain that control behavior, emotions, onset of puberty, sleep cycles and immunity.” – www.experiencelife.com
For me, the last sentence sums it all up, what kids in a classroom experience is over stimulation from the food they are eating, not from an attention disorder. Not only that, regular exposure to this toxin kills brain cells, making growing brains vulnerable to learning problems.
So where are these chemicals hiding? When you’re grocery shopping, check the food label, and if you see any of the below, put it back on the shelf:
MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
Food Coloring (especially red #40, blue #1, and yellow #6)
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
Most of the food you purchase one or more of these is in them, so where do you start? Its impossible to say your child will never have foods with such additives, most restaurant food, most packaged food will have such chemical or a derivative of them. What you can do is limit the amount your child (and yourself) consumes, and try to offset the effects with other natural foods.
Your child’s brain is four times more sensitive to these additives than you are; you need to keep that in mind when calculating how much excitotoxins are allowed. The further down the ingredient list you find them the better, remember that the ingredient list starts with the most item used to the least. Ultimately, go back to basics, use fresh produce, natural seasonings, and make mealtime a fun family activity you do together.