Reaching for that bag of chips or a pack of cookies might seem easy when your kid feels hungry. Another time they could be throwing tantrums at the supermarket, and you eventually give in to their whims in order to make the crying stop. And, well, let’s face it, in these moments of chaos, no one thinks to check the ingredients label, do you? The sad truth is that many of these snacks are loaded with cancer-causing ingredients amongst other chemicals that could be damaging your kid’s health.
Healthy snacking is important for your kid. If a child can distinguish between what’s healthy and what is not, they are more likely to make healthy choices throughout their life. While we agree that is not a piece of cake (and you might have to be a little strict), it will be beneficial in the long run.
In this article, we name the five common cancer-causing snacks that you should not feed your kids.
1. Microwave Popcorn
On first glance, popcorn might seem like the most harmless food there is. As it does not need oil to cook and is made using corn, it screams healthy. However, certain brands of instant popcorns contain propyl gallate and diacetyl, which can lead to skin problems and lung diseases. The packet that the popcorns usually come in, consist of a toxin called perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) that increases the risk of bladder, prostate, liver, and pancreatic cancer (1).
2. Flavoured Milk
Nothing really beats a plain old glass of milk. That being said, many people prefer giving flavoured milk products to their children thinking it’d be easier. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re doing more harm than good. These products are high in sugar content that can induce diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, as well as increase the cause of cancer.
3. Potato Chips
Filled with salt, fats, and preservatives, it is a no-brainer that packaged potato chips are no gift to health. Indulging in one or two might not be a cause for concern. However, the serving size of a majority of these chips contains calories equal to a full-fledged meal. Not only that, but these are fried at higher temperatures that could produce a carcinogenic agent called acrylamide (2).
By now, you must have known that any kind of packaged chips isn’t good for your child’s health. Just because Cheetos aren’t technically potato chips, do not make the mistake of thinking they are healthy. Cheesy snacks have a high content of sodium and saturated fats. Additionally, the orange food colouring is made out of petroleum. These dyes have been known to cause chronic health conditions, like hyperactivity, allergy, and cancer, to name a few. In fact, the “Flamin’ Hot” variety was taken off the menu at certain schools, due to the high sodium and fat levels (3). It has been reported to trigger gastritis, abdominal distress, and addiction in children as well as adults.
5. Pop Tarts
This is probably one of the most popular snacks on the list. According to the nutritional information on the Kellogg website, the frosted strawberry flavour contains a lot of dangerous ingredients (4). To begin with, there’s high fructose corn syrup, palm oil, sugar, and dextrose content, which can be linked to liver problems, diabetes, and sugar addiction in children. In addition to that, it contains TBHQ, a petroleum-based product known to damage human DNA leading to cellular dysfunction (5).
It is always best to know what you’re putting inside your body, especially when it is coming from the grocery store. Children, being young, might take a while to understand these health concerns, but a little patience from your end could benefit their health.