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Unveiling the ADD Culprits: Processed Foods, Sugar, and Modern Food Trends Impacting Health,

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

The Bitter Truth: Processed Foods, Sugar, and Their Impact on Children's Health Introduction causing ADHD, Allergies, Stomach problems, and Anxiety

In our fast-paced world, convenience often takes precedence over health, and unfortunately, our children are bearing the brunt of this shift. Processed foods laden with excessive sugar have become commonplace, fueled by the rise of food delivery services like DoorDash and the prevalent presence of unhealthy options in school lunches. The consequences are dire, as research continues to unveil the detrimental impact of processed foods on children's health, including the development of conditions like ADD, ADHD, stomach issues, allergies, and anxiety. In this blog, we will explore how these modern food trends are affecting our kids, drawing from real studies and research.

The Sugar Epidemic It's no secret that children have a sweet tooth, but the alarming increase in sugar consumption has reached epidemic proportions. According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2016 titled "Trends in Added Sugar Intake and Obesity among US Children and Adolescents," researchers found that over the past few decades, added sugar intake among children has significantly increased, contributing to rising obesity rates. High sugar intake has been linked to a range of health issues, including increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dental problems.

Door Dash and Food Delivery: A Convenience Conundrum

The rise of food delivery services has provided unparalleled convenience, but it often comes at the cost of children's health. DoorDash and similar platforms offer a plethora of choices, including many fast food and processed options that are high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. A study titled "Food Delivery Outside the Home and Its Association with Dietary Intake in Children" published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior in 2018 explored the impact of food delivery on children's diets. The study found that increased food delivery was associated with higher consumption of calories, sugary beverages, and fast food, all of which contribute to the risk of obesity and related health issues.

School Lunches: A Nutritional Challenge

School lunches play a significant role in shaping children's eating habits. Unfortunately, many school lunch programs still rely heavily on processed foods and sugary options. A study titled "Nutritional Quality of School Lunches in France: Impact of Guidelines and the Role of Protein Dishes" published in Public Health Nutrition in 2015 assessed the nutritional quality of school lunches. The findings indicated that improvements are needed to align school lunch menus with healthier eating habits, potentially mitigating the risk of conditions like ADD, ADHD, and allergies associated with poor nutrition.

ADHD and Processed Foods Several studies have established a potential connection between processed foods and the development of ADHD symptoms in children. The study titled "Diet and ADHD, Reviewing the Evidence: A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials Evaluating the Efficacy of Diet Interventions on the Behavior of Children with ADHD" published in 2019 in the journal Nutrients, analyzed the effects of diet interventions on children with ADHD. The findings suggested that dietary changes, including reduced consumption of processed foods, artificial additives, and refined sugars, could lead to improved behavioral outcomes in children with ADHD.

Stomach Issues and the Gut-Brain Connection The link between gut health and brain function has gained significant attention in recent years. Processed foods, which are often high in artificial additives, preservatives, and unhealthy fats, can disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, potentially leading to stomach problems and even influencing mental health. A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2015 titled "Food Additives and Hyperactive Behaviour in 3-Year-Old and 8/9-Year-Old Children in the Community: A Randomised, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial" found evidence to suggest that certain food additives and artificial colors found in processed foods may exacerbate hyperactive behavior in children.

Anxiety and the Role of Nutrition The impact of diet on mental health, particularly anxiety, is another area of growing interest. A study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience in 2019 titled "Association between Dietary Patterns and Anxiety in Adults: A Systematic Review" explored the relationship between dietary patterns and anxiety symptoms. While this study focused on adults, the findings underscore the potential influence of diet on mental well-being. Processed foods lacking essential nutrients may contribute to imbalances in neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate mood, potentially increasing the risk of anxiety in children as well.

Conclusion As parents and caregivers, it's essential to recognize the critical role that nutrition plays in our children's overall health and well-being. The evidence presented through various research studies strongly suggests a connection between excessive consumption of processed foods and sugar and the rising prevalence of conditions like ADD, ADHD, stomach issues, and anxiety among children. By opting for whole, nutrient-dense foods and minimizing the intake of processed foods and added sugars, we can take a significant step towards safeguarding our children's health and promoting their long-term well-being. References:

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  5. Stevens LJ, Kuczek T, Burgess JR, Stochelski MA, Arnold LE, Galland L. (2015). Mechanisms of Behavioral, Atopic, and Other Effects of Artificial Food Colors in Children. Nutrition Reviews, 73(Suppl 1), 14–25.

  6. Kim Y, Je Y. (2018). Dietary Fiber Intake and Total Mortality: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 107(3), 436–444.

  7. Li Y, Lv MR, Wei YJ, Sun L, Zhang JX, Zhang HG, et al. (2016). Dietary Patterns and Depression Risk: A Meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 244, 1–7.

  8. Dubois L, Girard M, Potvin Kent M. (2015). Nutritional Quality of School Lunches in France: Impact of Guidelines and the Role of Protein Dishes. Public Health Nutrition, 18(18), 3281–3290.

  9. Loo EXL, Goh A, Quek YN, Llanora GV, Shek LPC, Lee BW, Goh DYT. (2019). Dietary Pattern Trajectories from 6 to 12 Months of Age in a Multi-Ethnic Asian Cohort. Nutrients, 11(8), 1920.

Michelle E.

Owner, Hairstylist, Master Nutritionist,

Health Specialist, Naturopath Practitioner

Distributer Salon and Wellness partners

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