Heavy Metal Lullabyes for Babies? More Than a Matter of Taste, When It Comes to the Standard American Diet (SAD)
Garden City Park, NY: Over the past two years, several health studies in the US and abroad have presented a a growing tide of worrisome facts about the harmful things found in many of our processed foods—especially in our baby foods.
Back in October 2017, a major study conducted by a nonprofit organization called The Clean Label Project found alarming levels of arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals in approximately eighty percent (80%) of baby food/infant formulas sold on the market.
As of this month (October 2019), a new study from the nonprofit group Healthy Babies Bright Futures now finds the percentage of US-produced baby foods with heavy metal toxins has increased to the near-total statistic of ninety-five percent (95%). This only accounts for the toxin levels found in baby foods—the processed foods at the heart of the Standard American Diet (SAD), which have driven epidemic levels of adult Americans into a state of obesity, cannot be too much farther behind.
These are not the first indications of food dangers here in the US, according to former FDA investigator and food safety whistle blower Dr. Renee Dufault (author of Unsafe at Any Meal, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0436-0). According to an August 2018 article she wrote for the peer-reviewed Integrative Food, Nutrition and Metabolism Journal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim the number of children in the US struggling with ADHD and autism has continued to increase each year over the past decade. With ADHD in particular, the prevalence rate in the US has been nearly seven times that of children in the UK; with autism, the US prevalence rate remains three times that in the UK. The reason, as presented by Dr. Dufault in her article, has to do with the fact that the UK requires that food labels must indicate the presence of potentially harmful heavy metal toxins found in the synthetic food dyes and high fructose corn syrup (HCFS) levels within their products—a requirement that the US still does not currently enforce.
In that same month (August 2018), another study conducted by an advocacy group called the Environmental Working Group found trace levels of a dangerous crop-dusting herbicide called glyphosate in Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and a variety of other processed breakfast foods that the report showed could increase the likelihood of cancer in young children.
Meanwhile, the overall evidence against processed foods for children and adults alike has only increased in the past year. Back in March, a group of Harvard researchers with the T. H. Chan School of Public Health discovered a direct and dangerous link between drinking "sodas, sports drinks, and other sugary beverages" and the increased likelihood of dying from heart disease and breast or colon cancers. Said more plainly, you can shorten your life span by fourteen to eighteen percent (14 %–18%) if or whenever you drink just two cans of soda.
In addition, two new studies reported this past May out of France and Spain have shown a link between repeated consumption of "ultra-processed" foods and early death from cancer and heart disease. The first of those studies, conducted by Spain's University of Navarra, spent a decade in which they followed and reported each year the diet of 19,899 people, while France's University of Paris observed the eating habits of 105,159 people over a five-year period. From the 335 deaths that occurred during the course of their study, the University of Navarra found there were 16 deaths among those who ate the most ultra-processed food for every 10 deaths of those who ate the least. In the University of Paris study, meanwhile, heart disease and cancer rates stood at 277 people per 100,000 per year among those who ate the most ultra-processed food—compared with the lower figure of 242 people per 100,000 each year among those who had eaten the lesser amounts.
These ongoing reports and studies concerning food safety among our young and old are enough to give us all a cause for pause when it comes to what we eat. And yet, too many of us are not paying attention. Like our newborns, many of us have fallen asleep to the tune of a lullabye—except in this case, the lullabye in question has been the various harmful elements at play in so many of our processed foods. In order to wake up and fight back, we all need a solid guide that can show us what we need to do to survive and thrive in these challenging times. Based on Dr. Dufault's years of food safety expertise and health advocacy, Unsafe at Any Meal ($16.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0436-0) can serve as our best foundation in this regard.